From Huntingdon College:
The Huntingdon football team pushed its winning streak to four games and picked up its third conference win of the season with a 31-14 win over LaGrange on Saturday night.
The Hawks (5-1, 3-0 USA South) rallied from a 7-3 halftime deficit and outscored LaGrange (1-4, 1-1 USA South) 28-7 in the final two quarters. The win was Huntingdon's seventh in 10 meetings with LaGrange and snapped a two-game losing streak to the Panthers.
Leading by three points late in the third quarter, Huntingdon scored twice in the final 16 minutes of the game to pull away. Quarterback Luke Bailey connected with Diggan Andre for a 19-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the third quarter and junior running back Jay Ware closed the scoring with a 2-yard run with 5:38 to play.
"LaGrange is a very difficult place to play. They have a very good team and they're well coached," Huntingdon head coach Mike Turk said. "They had a good defensive scheme tonight that had us confused and frustrated in the first half.
"Our defense played well and really kept us in the game. Our defense may have been the difference in the game. As poorly as we played on offense in the first half, if our defense hadn't played as well as it did, the game could have been out of reach by the second half."
After being held to 140 yards of offense in the first half, the Hawks were able to establish the running game in the second half and finished the game with 309 yards rushing and 385 yards of offense. The Huntingdon defense limited LaGrange to 98 yards in the second half and 310 yards of offense for the game.
While the offense began to move the ball in the second half, Turk pointed to defense and special teams for setting up the Hawks' first two touchdowns in the third quarter.
With LaGrange leading 10-3, the Hawks forced the Panthers to punt on their first possession of the second half. Senior Jamichael Bibb fielded the punt and returned it 38 yards to the LaGrange 27-yard line. Four plays later, running back John Iwaniec scored on a 5-yard run.
On the ensuing possession, sophomore defensive back Austin Washington picked off a LaGrange pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown. It was the ninth interception return for a touchdown in Huntingdon history and the first since 2012.
"That was a huge play," Turk said. "There was a key stretch in the second half, where the defense got a stop and Jamichael returned a punt deep into their territory to set up our first touchdown. Once we had the lead, on the next possession, Austin made the play and took it to the end zone to give us a 10-point lead.
"Mentally, I think that helped our guys feel like we were in position to win and I think it put a little doubt in their players. LaGrange kept battling and scored another touchdown, but we were able answer twice and control the clock with our running game and close it out."
Iwaniec finished the game with 126 yards rushing and the touchdown on 22 carries. Freshman kicker Chase Young was 4-for-4 on extra points and scored the Hawks first points of the night on a 33-yard field goal.
In addition to the touchdown return, Washington also had five tackles. Brendon Brown, Jacob Wright and Anthony Wood each had six tackles. Defensive lineman Parker Allen had 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.