Big plays doom Indians in homecoming against Hawthorne

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By Sean Arnold

The Chiefland football team found itself in a 7-on-7 type of match against Hawthorne, and it didn’t go well.

The Hornets struck on a pair of early touchdowns for at least 50 yards apiece, setting the tone for an offensive onslaught that found them leading by 34 by halftime.

Hawthorne (5-1) went on to capture a 44-7 win, putting a damper on CMHS’ homecoming, and likely knocking the Indians from playoff contention.

The Indians fell to 3-4. All four of their losses are to teams headed for the playoffs.

Hawthorne’s only loss was in overtime against Union County (Lake Butler). UCHS is currently the favorite to take the fourth playoff spot in Region 1A-3. Top-ranked Madison County, Dixie County and Lafayette (Mayo) remain undefeated and are virtually guaranteed the other three playoff berths in Chiefland’s region. The Hornets are in Regional 1A-4 with Williston and Bronson.

The Indians next play host to Bronson (0-6) Friday Oct. 20 for senior night. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve played four playoff teams and we haven’t been close,” first-year CMHS coach Adam Gore said. “So we’ve still got a long ways to go for us to be a playoff-caliber team. We’re trying to develop a young team. Now we’ve got to go play for pride.”

HHS junior quarterback Kahleil Jackson completed 11 of his 22 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns. He connected with senior Justin Wright six times for 104 yards and a score.

“It was like trying to catch a greased chicken in a 10-acre field,” Gore said. “Hats off to them, they’re good. They had some good playmakers. It got away from us.

“We’ve got to play some 7-on-7,” Gore added. “We’ve got to get our guys some experience covering guys and go from there. That was very apparent in this game, that we have trouble covering guys. I don’t like it because it’s tag football.”

For Chiefland, senior Brian Norris gained a team-high 61 yards on 15 rushes, while sophomore Jarrett Jerrels collected 47 yards on four touches. Jerrels broke several tackles on a 23-yard touchdown run straight up the middle early in the second quarter, briefly cutting the deficit to 20-7, following a Noah Nguyen extra point. Jerrels also had a 30-yard kickoff return.

Chiefland had just one turnover, but struggled with some procedural penalties.

“This is what I worry about,” Gore said. “I don’t know if it’s mental toughness from the kids, or we’re not coaching well enough. There’s a problem somewhere there and we’ve got to figure it out.

“We’ve got to work on execution and get good at what we have the personnel for. We’ve been back and forth all year because we’ve got pieces for different things, trying to piece it all together.”

Lee Williams resurrected his role as Chiefland’s mascot as “Chief Kickin’ Butt.”