By DAVE WOODALL
Tammany West Sports
Not even the rain could dampen the anticipation of the teams and the crowd that arrived at Hannan field to watch their Hawks and the Springfield Bulldogs duke it out in a very important District 7-2A game.
It started out badly for the Hawks, but thanks to a very resourceful offense Hannan climbed back in it and pulled away with a 45-21 victory.
On Springfield’s first possession they were forced to punt.
Hannan’s Zachary Castelluccio blocked the punt setting the Hawks up at the Bulldog 49.
But the Hawks drive stalled when Joseph Kemp intercepted a Korey Zeigler pass at the 10-yard-line.
On the first play, Kemp took it to the house going 90 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Michael Sykes made it 7-0 with a successful PAT with 2:04 left in the first quarter.
But the Hawks came right back with a 60-yard, nine-play drive which was capped by a 8-yard touchdown run by Zeigler.
Hawk kicker Payton Hudson made good on his first of six PAT’s on the night to tie it at 7-7 at 10:54 of the second.
With 13 seconds left in the half, Hudson split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal to put the Hawks up 10-7 at the half.
The Bulldogs tried an on-side kick to begin the second half but failed.
The Hawks took over at their own 23 and marched down the field to the Bulldog 24. Michael Froeba then took it 24 yards for a touchdown to extend their lead to 17-7.
It was Hannan’s turn for an on-side attempt and this time it worked as Roosevelt Smith recovered at the Hawks 47.
After a 35-yard run by Zeigler, Froeba took it in from 13 yards out for his second touchdown of the night and a 24-7 lead.
The Bulldogs then mounted their best drive of the night scoring on a two-yard run by Kemp to narrow the Hawk lead to 24-14 with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
Springfield tried another on-side kick that failed when the Hawk’s Nathan Fouquet recovered.
Froeba scored his third touchdown of the night this one coming from nine yards out to make it 31-14 with 3:27 left in the third quarter.
On the Hawk’s next series, Zeigler was picked off again this time by Springfield’s Jordan Carter.
It took the Bulldogs one play to score as Kemp ran 24 yards for his third touchdown of the night to narrow the gap to 31-21.
With 27 seconds left in the third quarter, Froeba capped off a monster night scoring his fourth touchdown from 13 yards out to extend the Hawk lead to 38-21.
Bruce Dimartino ended the scoring with 3:31 left in the game on a 26-yard touchdown run to end it at 45-21.
“This was a huge game for us,” said Hannan head coach Pat Lambert. “They were in the semi-finals last year so we knew we were in for a tough game. They have a lot of great kids and an excellent coaching staff.”
Zeigler had an outstanding game at quarterback hitting on 6-of-11 passes for 73 yards and 18 runs for 186 yards and one touchdown.
Froeba had a career night scoring four touchdowns and rushed for 140 yards on 14 carries.
Dimartino carried three times for 55 yards and a touchdown.
When asked about any other four touchdown nights Froeba was quick to respond saying, “I’ve had other four touchdown nights but tonight just felt different since it was such a big game for us. Our offensive line did a great job blocking tonight. they know we have each others back.”
Kemp had a good night for the Bulldogs rushing for 121 yards on 10 carries while scoring three touchdowns.
With the win over the Bulldogs, it sets the stage for the game of the year in 7-2A play when Hannan (6-1, 3-1) travels across town to take on the league leading Northlake Christian Wolverines (7-0, 4-0) on Friday, October 25.
When asked about next week’s huge encounter Lambert summed it up saying, “I’m going to enjoy this win right now and then I’ll prepare for next week.”