Hanahan stops Hilton Head in controversial final play of the game

Hawks win region, set to host Brookland-Cayce in first round of playoffs

The Hanahan Hawks are the Region 8-AAA football champions. The Hawks posted a 49-45 victory over Hilton Head in the regular-season finale Friday night. The game included plenty of big plays, excitement and controversy.

Controversey erupted over the final play of the game. The Seahawks had the ball on the Hawks’ 4-yardline with seven seconds left in the game. Quarterback Aidan Hegarty scrambled and slipped on the wet field and threw what appeared to be the winning touchdown pass. But the officials ruled his knee touched down on the 10-yard line, ending the game, which was played in a drizzle and fog.

The Hawks finished the regular season with an 8-2 record, including 5-0 in conference play. Hilton Head fell to 9-1, 4-1.

The Hawks trailed 24-7 in the first half, rallied to get back into the game only to find themselves still down by a 45-34 count. But they scored the last 15 points of the game to pick up their fifth consecutive victory.

“It was a heck of a ballgame,” said Hanahan coach Charlie Patterson, whose team hosts Brookland-Cayce in the first round of the playoffs. “We didn’t get off to a great start, but we didn’t quit. I am very proud of those kids. I’ve been a coach for 28 years and was an assistant at Gaffney when they won state championships. But I’m as proud of this team as any I’ve been associated with. They showed a lot of pride and character.”

And talent.

Quarterback Victor Colbert began the game with one completion in seven attempts, but completed 15 of his final 20 passes. He threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Samuel Denmark cemented his status as one of the state’s top playmakers with more than 220 all-purpose yards including a 65-yard TD run. But the play that had Patterson shaking his head in amazement was a screen pass to Samuel Denmark that he turned into an 80-yard TD.

“He must have ran at least 150 yards on that play,” Patterson said. “He caught the pass on one sideline cut across all the way to the other sideline and then cut across the middle of the field. I told my coaches there aren’t too many players in South Carolina who could make that play. He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of speed. That guy can run.”

The Hawks scored two times in the final 5:15 of the game to claim victory. Special teams play gave the Hawks great field position on the first scoring drive. Cyrone White ripped off a 24-yrad run, and Colbert passed to Denmark for the 2-point conversion.

The Hawks weren’t done. Denmark showed his skills with the screen pass, weaving in and out of traffic to hit paydirt with 1:40 left in the game. Hilton Head countered with the final drive of the game that included the controversial TD that the officials ruled against.

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