Hawks crush TAD comeback effort

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Just like Billy Joel's hit "I Go To Extremes", the T.A. Dugger 7th Grade junior Cyclones went to extremes, bouncing back from a 16-0 deficit in the first half and pulling an amazing comeback with under a minute in the game to cut the gap against the Indain Trail Hawks.
   However, it was the Hawks that would prevail, stopping a TAD conversion by a foot to take a two point win 28-26 at the Hawk's Nest.
   "Any more games like that and I am going to have to give up coaching and take up drinking," said Indian Trail coach Rich Murray, "These kids worked hard all year and tonight they finally got the breaks."
   T.A. Dugger received the ball to open the game, and was immediately plagued by a fumble and a dropped snap, giving the Hawks their first possession.
   Indian Trail started work on the Jr. Clones and had no problem working their way down the field. Led by runs from Lucas Snapp and Nat Scott, the Hawks scored first after a 24-yard touchdown from Jordan Antonem with a Snapp conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
   The Jr. 'Clones were dealt a bad hand the next possession, fumbling on the first play, when Austin Taylor was stripped of the ball by David Alexander who took it 60 yards for the score. Another Snapp conversion to make it 16-0 Hawks.
   T.A. Dugger got caught again after a Taylor halfback pass was intercepted by Joe Atiyeh. But they held their own against the Hawks, as Travis Bishop forced Micah Holifield to fumble, allowing T.A. Dugger to catch up in the second quarter.
   Both teams would swap a couple of possessions after a fumble and an interception by Taylor from Trail's Robert Frye, giving the Jr. Clones the ball at the Hawk's five yard line.
   A.J. Burke would plow in for the first score by T.A. Dugger, followed by a Preston Smith pass conversion to cut the gap to eight, lighting a fire under the E-Town crew.
   Awesome defense would allow T.A. Dugger one more possession in the first half with under :30 remaining. And they produced, with a nice 48-yard flea flicker from Smith to Weston Issacs to Taylor for the score to end the half. A missed conversion gave the Hawks a two point advantage going in at the break.
   Indian Trail would attempt to finish off the Jr. 'Clones after Snapp blasted in on a four yarder, with a missed conversion following, to take a 22-14 lead. But the Jr. 'Clones wouldn't give it up, darting downfield, setting up a Taylor score from seven out, with a missed conversion making it 22-20 Hawks.
   Indian Trail came back on their next play from scrimmage with a 47-yard touchdown from Snapp, with a missed conversion making it a 28-20 contest.
   It seemed as if all hopes were over for the Jr. 'Clones as Indian Trail ran the clock down to :53 remaining. But Travis Bishop stepped up and stripped the ball out of Nat Scott's hands giving TAD another chance with :43 seconds remaining.
   They immediately hit another flea flicker gaining 28 yards, with :38 left. Issacs took the next play and jetted 14 yards on a reverse to bring TAD within two points with :32 remaining in the game.
   The game now came down to the final conversion. Preston Smith passed the ball to Josh Hutchins who bulled his way to the one yard line, reaching the ball just short of the goal to give Indain Trail the win.
   "That was a tough one," said TAD coach Daniel Proffit, "The thing that was important was how we never quit, we had the heart. We came up a foot short but it happens. It was our last game and I wouldn't have it any other way."