Hawks come up short at Winston Co.
Paul Wilson, Enquirer Correspondent
DOUBLE SPRINGS – Hall and Oates, a famous pop rock duo of the '70s and '80s had a hit single entitled "So Close, Yet So Far Away." Those words probably best describe Danville's 24-6 loss to Winston County this past Friday night.
Turnovers and penalties proved too much for the Hawks to overcome as Danville lost its third consecutive game. Commenting on the mistakes Coach Joey Burch said, "While I was pleased with our effort, we have to cut down on the turnovers and penalties. They really hurt us tonight."
Turnovers cost Danville early as Winston County scored on its first two possessions after recovering two Hawk fumbles. The Yellow Jackets' first touchdown of the evening came on a 24-yard fourth-and-10 Adam Flanigan to Ryan Hatmaker pass. The extra point was no good but with 8:35 left in the opening quarter Winston County led 6-0.
Following the recovery of a second Danville fumble, Winston County drove 61 yards in five plays with Hatmaker scoring on an 18-yard run. Flanigan really hurt the Hawks with his passing on this drive as he was 3-of-3 for 38 yards.
For the night Flanigan completed 13-of-18 passes for 167 yards. Once again the extra point was no good but Danville now trailed 12-0 with 1:31 left in the first period.
An early second quarter punt of 39 yards by Hawk junior John Dalton gave Winston County a first-and-10 at their own 20. Penalties and a strong effort by the Danville defense forced the Jackets to punt on fourth-and-18. Danville then drove 41 yards in five plays for its only score of the evening.
Hawk senior quarterback Casey Wilson got the touchdown on a 12-yard quarterback sneak. For the drive Wilson had 21 yards rushing and 10 yards passing. A penalty on Danville's two-point attempt pushed the Hawks back five yards, forcing Danville to kick. The extra point was no good and with 5:04 left in the half, the Hawks trailed 12-6.
"The two-point play was something we put in this week. It would have worked but somebody just didn't line up correctly" Coach Burch said.
Winston County threatened late in the quarter but the Danville defense forced a fumble to end the Yellow Jacket scoring opportunity. After recovering the fumble, the Danville offense moved the football from its own 19 out to midfield before time ran out in the first half of play.
Winston County opened the second half on offense but were unable to move the ball as the Hawk defense forced a three-and-out. A 23-yard punt allowed Danville excellent field position at the Yellow Jacket 40. Seven consecutive runs gave the Hawks a first-and-goal at the Winston County 6.
Dalton was Danville's primary ball carrier on the drive, getting the ball four times while gaining 19 yards. Two more Dalton runs put the Hawks on the Yellow Jacket 2. The next play proved to be the turning point of the game as a Danville touchdown run by Dalton was called back due to a procedure penalty. A third-and-goal pass from the 7 fell incomplete and on fourth down Dalton's pass was intercepted by a Winston County defender.
"When you have a team as young as ours, it is very hard to overcome mistakes" Burch said.
Winston County then used most of the remaining time in the third quarter, driving from its own 5 to the Danville 36 before turning the ball over on downs. The quarter ended with Danville facing a second-and-nine from the Hawk 49.
The final period of play, unfortunately for Danville, belonged to the Yellow Jackets. Taking over at its own 45 following a failed fake punt by Danville, Winston County drove 55 yards in five plays with the touchdown coming on a 17 yard pass from Flanigan to Blake Anthony. The two-point try failed but the Jackets led 18-6 with 9:11 remaining in the game.
Winston County's final points of the evening came on its next possession as Flanigan raced 63 yards down the right sideline. The extra point was no good and the Jackets now led 24-6.
With the loss, Danville falls to 2-4 overall but more importantly 1-3 in the region. When asked about the Hawks playoff chances, Coach Burch replied, "We can't worry about the playoffs right now. We just have to concentrate on getting a win next Friday night against Hanceville."
The Hawks will celebrate homecoming against the Bulldogs of Hanceville at Smith-Owens Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m.