Defense leads the way for Hawks in Homecoming victory

The Huntingdon Hawks celebrate during Saturday's 48-7 win over Methodist. (Photo by Julie Bennett/juliebennettphoto.com)
The Huntingdon Hawks celebrate during Saturday's 48-7 win over Methodist. (Photo by Julie Bennett/juliebennettphoto.com)

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  – The Huntingdon football team opened conference play and celebrated Homecoming with a 48-7 win over Methodist University on Saturday.

The Hawks overcame two weather delays to build a 28-0 lead at halftime and extended the lead to 41 points before the Monarchs scored early in the fourth quarter.

Running back Eric Thomas scored the first three touchdowns of the game before Michael Lambert connected with Zack Self on a 5-yard touchdown pass to close the first-half scoring.

The Hawks opened the second-half with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Lambert-to-Otis Porter and added a 64-yard touchdown run by Kobe Smith to make it 41-0 with 2:07 left in the third quarter.

Dontavion Cunningham scored the Hawks' final touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.

                                         

Records: Huntingdon (2-2, 1-0 USA South); Methodist (1-2, 0-1 USA South)

 

The Turning Point: The first half became a waiting game due to the unexpected weather. Weather delayed the game for 30 minutes between the first and second quarters and caused an hour-long delay with 1:12 left in the first half.

Leading 21-0 at the start of the second delay, the Hawks were in control, but the game was not decided. That changed quickly when the two teams returned to the field.

On the second play after the delay, Huntingdon linebacker Karl Dorn picked off a Methodist pass and returned it 32 yards to the Monarchs' 5-yard line. Lambert connected with Self for a 5-yard touchdown on the next play.

"The delays were tough, but I thought our guys handled it well. We've had games where we had to leave the field and come back out, but we've never had to do that twice in one half," Huntingdon head coach Mike Turk said. "(After the second delay), we went back out for the last part of the second quarter with a 21-0 lead and Karl intercepted the ball and ran it back inside the 10-yard line. That led to a quick touchdown and was a big turning point in the game."

Huntingdon proceeded to score on two of its first three possessions in the third quarter to seal the game.

 

Notable Performance: The Huntingdon defense had something to prove on Saturday and the unit set the tone. After giving up 471 rushing yards to Methodist last season, the defense dominated the Monarchs this time around.

The Hawks held Methodist to 240 yards of total offense, including just 70 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Methodist running backs Vontre Howard (248 yards) and Nick Baker (142 yards), who combined for 390 rushing yards a year ago, were held to 79 yards on 25 carries on Saturday.

On Methodist' first five offensive possessions, the Hawks stopped the Monarchs on fourth down once and held Methodist to three-and-out on the other four possessions.

With the tone set, the defense finished with six tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception to go along with a blocked kick and a fumble recovery on special teams.

 

Quick Fact

Porter climbs to third in receiving yards: With 65 receiving yards against Methodist, senior Otis Porter moved into third in the Huntingdon record book for career receiving yards. Porter now has 115 receptions for 2,399 yards and a school-record 27 touchdowns for his career. He needs 99 yards to move into second-place on the Hawks' all-time receiving yards list.

 

Stat Leaders

Offense

Passing: Michael Lambert: 8/18 for 137 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT

Receiving: Otis Porter: 2 receptions for 65 yards, 1 TD

Zack Self: 5-yard touchdown reception

Rushing: Kobe Smith: 16 rushes for 129 yards, 1 TD

Eric Thomas: 19 rushes for 97 yards, 3 TDs

Dontavion Cunningham: 14 rushes for 54 yards, 1 TD

 

Kicking:  Cole Starr: 6/7 PAT

 

Defense

Tackles:  Mal Caldwell (7), Seth Warren (7), Ahmaud Taylor (6), Peyton DeFleron (6)

Sacks: Oaklee Williams (1), Zach Roberts (1)

Interceptions: Karl Dorn (1 for 32 yards)

Fumble Recoveries: Jacob Munn (1)

Blocked Kicks: Fred Flavors (1)

 

Head Coach Mike Turk on Saturday's win: "I'm proud of our entire football team, but I'm really proud of our defensive effort. We needed that. The guys have been working really hard and it was nice for them to see some results.

"We were able to get off the field on defense, we made some big plays and we were able to get some turnovers. Those are the kinds of things we haven't been doing consistently early in the year. We haven't been playing terrible, we've just been inconsistent. So, it was good to see the consistency today. Today was definitely a step in the right direction."

 

Coming Up: Huntingdon hosts Maryville on Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.

2019 NCAA Playoff Information
November 18, 2019 2019 NCAA Playoff Information