Hawthorne advances, sets up showdown with Pahokee in Class 1A

Hawthorne_Hornets footballBy Edgar Martin
Contributing Writer
Twitter – @EdgarMartin97

Hawthorne High School pulled off a secure victory on Friday in the second round of the FHSAA state playoffs.

Hornets’ senior quarterback Kahleil Jackson broke a 7-7 tie in the 2nd quarter with a 59-yard scoring run which helped Hawthorne take a 27-7 lead at the half en route to a 50-27 win against visiting Crescent City.

With the Class 1A Region Semifinals finally over with, the Hornets, along with the other final seven teams in 1A, look to continue fighting for the state championship.

The Hornets, the top seed in Region 4, defeated the 4th-seeded Crescent City Raiders in a high-performing playoff match. Although the Raiders fought hard, it wasn’t enough to bring down the Hornets and move forward.

However, the Raiders did make a statement by scoring the most points against Hawthorne this season. No team had scored higher than 19 against them before Friday night. The Raiders were the underdog in the fight as they entered the game with a 9-2 record compared to the Hornets’ undefeated record at 10-0.

Crescent City head coach Clarence Williams provided as strong of a game-plan as he could, but the Hornets’ defense was too much to handle.

Going into halftime with a 20-point deficit, the Raiders were looking to create a forceful comeback but couldn’t prevail.

As for Hawthorne (11-0), most of the night was smooth sailing as they dominated and held the lead the entire game. The Hornets’ defense was outstanding with their front seven causing several sacks, and the secondary racking up a handful of interceptions to control the pace of the game.

Key players such as junior Kentrell Strickland, senior Mike Reed, and senior Adrian McCray are just some of the many names noteworthy in the great defensive effort put forth.

In addition, Hawthorne senior running back Uveekie Fields had an amazing offensive performance by rushing for over 200 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Fields created a calm and steady tempo for the Hornets by giving them a strong, solid running game.

“Honestly it feels great knowing that I can come out and contribute in a big game like this, and you know, just do my job,” said Fields.

Up next is a chance to advance to the state semifinals. The Hornets, ranked 2nd in the state, will be hosting the Pahokee Blue Devils (#2 in Region 4) for the Regional Championship.

With the top two teams in this region getting ready to go head-to-head, Fields knows he will have to get to studying and make each practice count for what he knows will be a dog fight.

Pahokee, ranked fourth in 1A in the final AP state rankings, advanced with a 34-13 win against Wildwood.