Hawthorne comes up short in 1A title game

Hawthorne's Tyler Jefferson runs for a touchdown.
Hawthorne's Tyler Jefferson runs for a touchdown.
Photo by C.J. Gish

The Hawthorne football team was much closer to winning the school’s first state football title in school history.

But on Saturday night at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee, a special teams’ blunder led to a 13-12 Madison County win in Class 1A state championship game.

A bad snap led to Josues Knapp’s punt getting blocked by the Cowboys’ Tyrece Pryor and returned down to the 2-yard line with 8:05 to play in the game.

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On the next play, Madison County quarterback Jamie Hampton ran it in from two yards out. Hampton’s 2-point conversion pass was incomplete, but Madison County led 13-12 with 7:59 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets (10-1) were unable to score, and Madison County (11-3) won its fourth state title in the past five years.

Hawthorne, which lost to Baker in last year’s state championship game, had their chances early.

However, a pass intended for wide receiver Anthony Morgan inside the Madison County 10-yard line bounced off of Morgan’s hands and was intercepted by the Cowboys’ Jonathan Akins with 7:41 to play in the opening quarter.

Hawthorne's Brian James on a first-half run

Then, with 11:14 to play in the first half, Hornets’ quarterback Tyler Jefferson was stopped a half yard shy on 4th down at the Madison County 30-yard line.

Jefferson, who finished the game with 111 yards on 19 carries, did put the Hornets on the scoreboard first. On 4 th-and-2, Jefferson raced 31 yards up the middle for a 6-0 lead with 7:38 to play in the half.

After Hampton completed a 9-yard scoring pass to Jahyren Lee with 2:42 to play in the half for a 7-6 lead, Hawthorne answered.

The Hornets marched downfield and scored on a 10-yard run by Jefferson with 1:20 to play in the second quarter. Jefferson’s two-point pass play was incomplete, but Hawthorne led 12-7 at the half.

Madison County overcame 19 penalties for 145 yards.

Although they were also outgained by Hawthorne, 222-208, they forced three Hawthorne turnovers.

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