By Lisa Hughes
Despite trailing by twenty-two at the half Monday night, the Hawks put together a great second half, falling just short of a victory against the visiting Rapid City Christian Comets 48-34. This particular game was a make-up game from the first game of the season. Fires in the area north of Hay Springs forced the postponement back on August 31st.
The Comets got on the scoreboard with 7:07 left in the first quarter when Eli Houchens scored on a 5 yard run after the Comets put together a 55 yard drive. The extra point attempt failed and the Comets led 6-0. After the Hawks were forced to punt, the Comets orchestrated a 40 yard drive that ended with a 7 yard pass from Ryan Palmer to Zach Johansen. Again the extra point failed and the Comets led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter. The two teams traded possessions in the second quarter before the Comets again struck paydirt after Eli Houchens went 22 yards for the score. A pass from Palmer to Jadd Evans was good for the two-point conversion and the Comets held an early 20-0 lead.
The Hawks found some energy on the ensuing kickoff when Stevin Horrocks took the kick 70 yards for the Hawks first score. Again, the Comets were able to use up precious time while putting together a 55 yard drive that ended with a Houchens 7 yard run. Quarterback Ryan Palmer kept the ball on the two-point conversion and the Comets held a comfortable 28-6 halftime lead.
The Hawks had the ball to start the second half, but the Comets turned an interception in six points with 10:02 left in the third quarter on a Jordan Hunt 1 yard run. The Palmer/Houchens pass play was good on the two-point conversion and the Comets seemed to be on their way to blowing out the Hawks. The Comets final score of the third quarter came on a 1 yard run by Houchens, that capped a 59 yard drive. The Hawks refused to go away however and with 3:20 on the clock in the third Chris Ray took the handoff from brother Levi Ray and dashed 8 yards for the touchdown. The Hawks two-point conversion failed and the quarter ended with the Hawks trailing the Comets 42-12 with one quarter left to play.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Hawks but time was not in their favor. The Hawks recovered a Comets fumble early in the fourth quarter and with 11:05 left in the game Chris Ray picked up his second touchdown of the game on a 7 yard run and the Hawks started to cut into the Comets big lead. The Hawks were moving the ball again on their next drive when the Comets picked up a Hawks fumble and returned it 70 yards before being brought down just short of the goal line. The Comets scored on a 1 yard run on the next play for their only score of the quarter. Chris Ray capped off a Hawks 48 yard drive with 6:13 left in the game for his third score. The two-point conversion pass play from Levi Ray to Jordan Encinia was good and the Hawks trailed 48-26. The Hawks defense forced a safety with 5:32 left to make the score 48-28. Following the punt by the Comets the Hawks had great field position and were able to capitalize on it when Ray again found Encinia in the endzone for the 7 yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to fourteen 48-34.
The Hawks pressed to get the ball back but after a couple first downs by the Comets, they were able to run the clock out, halting the Hawks valiant comeback attempt.
The leading tacklers for the Hawks were Stevin Horrocks, Jordan Houser, and Austin Reed, while Riley Abbott and Chris Ray both added a quarterback sack. The Hawks traveled to Crawford on Friday for a match-up with the Rams.