BY VICTOR TUN
Three touchdowns in the first half by Jalen Townser propelled Hiram to a 30-0 Region 7-AAAAA victory over Woodland Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
Townser finished the night with 135 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries.
For Woodland, the team falls to 1-4 and 0-3 in the region and will face two tough opponents on the road the next two weeks in Rome and Carrollton.
“Our region is really good but we have to focus on us and not so much on who we play next at this time in our schedule,” Woodland head coach Tony Plott said. “We’re still trying to get some traction, we’re still trying to get momentum and the only way we’ll accomplish that is by working hard throughout the week and by being a blue-collar group and simply work to be better.”
Hiram (2-2, 2-0) scored its first touchdown of the night after a 23-yard run by senior Townser. The extra point by Dalton Moyse gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead with 6:41 left in the first quarter.
The scoring drive was set up by Hiram’s Joshua Martin, when he blocked a Woodland punt deep in its own territory.
After holding Woodland to a three-and-out, Hiram’s quarterback Qamar Grant connected with receiver Dylan Stockunas for a 50-yard gain, which placed the Hornets at the 3-yard line. One play later, Townser ran into the end zone for his second score of the night, thus giving Hiram a 14-0 lead with 3:54 left in the first.
At the beginning of the second quarter, facing a fourth-and-14, Hiram attempted a fake punt, but Woodland’s Eli Jernigan brought the runner before the first down marker, giving Woodland possession at Hiram’s 46-yard line.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the team couldn’t capitalize off the momentum and also attempted a fake punt, on which the team was stopped at Hiram’s side of the field.
After forcing 33 yards in just penalties and driving Hiram back to its own 12-yard line, the Wildcats took possession of the ball at the Hornets’ 40-yard line. Two penalties were called on the punt, placing Woodland at Hiram’s 13-yard line. After gaining one yard on the first play, quarterback Johnathan Thomas rushed for 11 yards, giving the Wildcats a first-and-goal situation from the 1-yard line.
But after a false start penalty two different times, Woodland faced a fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line. On the play, a pass by Thomas towards the end zone was intercepted by Hiram’s Mahki Touray.
“We were at the 1-foot line and we’re not able to score. So there’s some focus issues there, but again, it’s not all on the kids,” Plott said. “We were in a situation that we should had gone over more in practice, and that’s on me, that’s my fault.”
On the first play of the drive after getting the ball back, Townser rushed for 80 yards to put the Hornets up 21-0 with 3:09 left in the second quarter.
At the beginning of the second half, Martin scored a safety for Hiram as he tackled Asa James inside his own end zone.
After receiving the ball from the free kick and starting the offensive drive from Woodland’s 32-yard line, the Hornets scored their fourth and final touchdown of the night.
Woodland’s James carried the ball 18 times for about 31 yards, and Thomas had 30 yards off 13 carries. The Wildcats were penalized 10 times for 69 yards, while Hiram received 15 penalties for 130 yards.