Hobgood holds off Lawrence

Published 12:41 am Saturday, September 15, 2012

MERRY HILL – Fabulous 40.

On a night when they saluted 40 years of Lawrence Academy football the Warriors went out and scored over 40 points.

In fact, it was more points than they’ve scored in their three previous games combined.

After their march through the Coastal Carolina 8-Man Triangle-area “Trio of Doom” – Word of God Academy, St. David’s School and Cary Christian – the Warriors were ready to return home and kick-start their season.

And they had a night – and an opponent – to remember.

Several members of Lawrence’s 1992 independent schools state championship team were on hand. They included former coach Golden Simpson along with ex-players Tim Corey, Matthew Fairfield, Jason Price, Kevin Taylor and Matthew Preden; all honored at halftime.

The night also included the team the Warriors bested a score of years ago, the Hobgood Raiders.  And while no one can say twenty years was a long time to wait, Hobgood got a small measure of revenge as they took the 2012 contest, 52-44.

The Warriors amassed a whopping 330 yards of total offense: 200 on the ground and quarterback Jesse White was unofficially 13-of-28 for 130 yards through the air.

White ran for three scores and passed for another.  Ryan Lilley got Lawrence’s other score on a 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“When you’ve got a young team it’s a process,” said second year Lawrence coach Beau Drake. “And part of that process is learning how to finish.”

Lawrence got on the board first; taking the opening drive 63 yards in 15 plays and finishing with a short four-yard plunge by White into the end-zone for a 6-0 lead after the point-after kick was blocked.

Hobgood wasted little time getting the equalizer as the Raiders went 52 yards in seven plays to tie the game at 6-6 and then made a two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead.

The time on top was short-lived as Lilley worked his magic on the Hobgood kickoff.  The speedster juked his way past several defenders and then sprinted along the sideline untouched into the endzone and the Warriors retook the lead, 14-8 after a two-point conversion of their own.

But that was the last time the Warriors would lead on the night.  Hobgood came right back and scored on their next two possessions to lead it 24-14 after one quarter of play.

Lawrence opened the second quarter by finishing a drive they began in the first as White collected his second score on the ground with a short half-yard plunge to get the Warriors back within four, 24-20.

The game became a stalemate for the final eight minutes before halftime.  Each team turned the ball over and twice the two teams stopped the other’s drives.

Hobgood, however, did manage to break the stalemate for a score with two-and-a-half minutes to go until the break that made it 30-20, Raiders, at halftime.

It didn’t take Hobgood long to rekindle the scoring with an opening drive of 68 yards in just two plays for a 38-20 lead.

But Lawrence answered on their first possession of the third quarter in a five-play 63-yard drive making it a 10-point deficit, 38-28.

Again, the Raiders quickly wiped the smiles off the faces of the Warrior faithful with a quick score to go back in front by 16, 44-28.

On the ensuing drive, Lawrence picked up a big first down on fourth-and-long when White hit Lilley for a 50-yard gain into Raider territory.  The momentum continued as Cody Ambrose ran it in from 28 yards out, making the score, 44-36.

It looked like Lawrence would at least tie before the quarter ended after a Raider turnover, but a touchdown was called back; and Hobgood added to their total early in the fourth quarter, making it, 52-36.

Lawrence (0-4) came back to score with less than a minute left in the game for the eight-point margin.  Hobgood (3-1) won their second in a row while the loss left the Warriors defeated, but not down.

“This gives us confidence we’re doing good things offensively,” said Drake. “So we’re going to just keep hammering it out, getting rid of the wrinkles, and I think we’ll be okay.”