Hawks end football season with 8-4 record, regional crown
The Hanahan High School football team’s season didn’t begin as the Hawks had hoped. And it didn’t end the way the Hawks had envisioned. But in between, Hanahan first-year coach David Morbitzer built a solid foundation and the seniors left an impressive legacy.
Wade Hampton posted a 35-6 victory over the Hawks last Friday night at Wiley Knight Stadium in the third round of the Class AAA state playoffs. That brought the curtain down on a season in which the Hawks posted an 8-4 record.
The Hawks were hit with bad news before the season-opening kickoff even took place as senior defensive end Dawson Cooper, one of the top 10 players in the state, suffered a season-ending knee injury at a Clemson football camp.
Then the Hawks stumbled, fumbled and bumbled as they dropped three of their first four games. But then it was gut-check time and Morbitzer challenged the seniors to leave a lasting legacy.
The seniors and the rest of the team responded as the Hawks rolled to seven straight wins and the Region 7-AAA crown. It was the first region title since 2015 for a team that went a combined 7-15 during the 2016 and ’17 seasons.
But Wade Hampton, coached by the legendary Jerry Brown of Berkeley High School fame, rolled into town, ready to make only its second third-round playoff appearance in the school’s history. The Red Devils were more than up for the challenge and just like that, the Hawks hung up their helmets and shoulder pads for the final time in 2018.
Wade Hampton, 10-2, advanced to this weekend’s Lower State Championship. The Red Devils will travel to Dillon to face an undefeated Wildcat team that pounded May River 38-2 to reach the Lower State showdown.
Hanahan allowed only 49 points during its seven-game winning streak, but the Red Devils’ old-fashioned offense wasn’t going to slow down despite the long journey to Hanahan.
The Red Devils gained 364 yards in total offense including 294 yards on the ground. Running back Pernell Maxwell, part speedy, shifty and strong, almost averaged a first down every time he carried the ball. He had 24 attempts on the ground and gained 226 yards.
The Hawks didn’t help themselves turning the ball over four times while having a kick blocked.
The Hawks managed only 185 yards in total offense. Gale Ball led the way with 17 carries for 86 yards and the Hawks’ only score, an 18-yard touchdown run. Shiron Hart carried seven times for 39 yards and Luke Mills tallied 15 yards on four carries.
Quarterback Mac Blakeney completed only three of 11 passing for 85 yards. Wesley Crain caught two passes for 51 yards and Ball snagged a 35-yard reception.
Logan Ammons led the Hawks defense with a fumble recovery and an interception.
“I am thankful tonight on the last night I get to spend with the 2018 Hawks,” Morbitzer posted on Facebook following the game. “Thank you to the 20 seniors who set the foundation and legacy for the years to come. I cannot thank them enough; so proud of them this season.”