When Lassiter’s Robert Dowling returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game against Hillgrove on Friday, it appeared to open the floodgates on what would be an easy victory for the Trojans.
But despite building a 37-0 halftime, the Trojans didn’t secure the victory until Willie Police converted a fourth-and-short near the Hillgrove 20-yard line with less than a minute to play as they held off Hillgrove 37-29 in the first game of the East-West Cobb Classic at McEachern.
“I was really disappointed with how we played in the second half,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “Hillgrove is a very good football team. We knew they were going to play better in the second half. We had a few things go our way, and we managed to hang on and win. I’m really proud of how we finished the game, driving it down and running the clock out. But certainly there’s a lot of lessons to be learned from this game.”
Lane Jackman and Josh Danforth had touchdown runs in the first quarter, and Eddie Printz threw touchdown passes of 38 yards to Police and 13 yards to Blake Wilson in the second. Luke Hardin kicked a 30-yard field goal with 3:55 to play in the half.
But much like last week, when Hillgrove (1-1) was shut out in the first half of its 31-15 victory at Westlake, the Hawks’ offense came to life in the second half. The Hawks got their first points when Troy Thompson threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Bailey with 7:11 to play in the third quarter. Thompson scored on a 1-yard run late in the third, then threw an 87-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram with 4:56 to play in the game.
Hillgrove recovered the ensuing onside kick, leading to a 17-yard touchdown run by Richardre Bagley with four minutes to play.
Lassiter took possession at that point and drove down the field, running out the clock.
Printz, who has committed to UCLA, completed 19 of 25 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He had 226 yards in the first half, when Lassiter (1-0) outgained the Hawks 232-38. Lassiter finished with 362 yards to Hillgrove’s 247.
The first half was halted with a little more than a minute to play in the second quarter after Hillgrove’s Devin Knight was knocked unconscious and suffered a slight neck injury on a Lassiter punt return. Knight was on the ground for several minutes before being taken off the field on a stretcher. He is expected to be OK, but he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Hillgrove – 0-0-14-15 – 29
Lassiter – 20-17-0-0– 37
L – Robert Dowling 75 interception return (kick failed)
L – Lane Jackman 20 run (Luke Hardin kick)
L – Josh Danforth 1 run (Hardin kick)
L – Eddie Printz 38 pass to Willie Police (Hardin kick)
L – Printz 13 pass to Blake Wilson (Hardin kick)
L – Hardin 30 field goal
H – Troy Thompson 2 pass to Aaron Bailey (Andrew Gaughn kick)
H – Thompson 1 run (Gaughn kick)
H – Thompson 87 pas to Evan Engram (Gaughn kick)
H – Richardre Bagley 17 run (Thompson pass to Zach Katz)