MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - USA South champion Huntingdon will go into the NCAA Division III playoffs on the heels of an eight game winning streak after defeating Averett 44-13 Saturday in Montgomery.
It was a dynamic performance for the Hawk's offense as they put up just under 500 yards of total offense, mostly through the air. However, Huntingdon's defense established the early momentum.
After forcing Averett to a three and out on the first drive of the game, Huntingdon's Vincent Lee recovered a blocked punt and ran the ball 12 yards for a touchdown.
Lee's scoop and score gave the Hawks an early 7-0 lead in the first.
Both teams traded possessions until midway in the second quarter.
With just under nine minutes remaining in the second quarter, Huntingdon quarterback Luke Bailey connected with Diggan Andre for a 56-yard touchdown.
Huntingdon forced Averett to turn the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive, giving Huntingdon the ball back at the Averett 28-yard line.
Four plays later, Nick Haas caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Luke Bailey for another Hawk touchdown. With the extra point, Huntingdon took a commanding 21-point-lead.
Averett continued to have trouble moving the ball against Huntingdon's stingy defense for the remainder of the half, giving the Hawks a 21-0 lead going into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Huntingdon running back Vic Jerald broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run. Chase Young's point after touchdown was blocked, so the Hawks settled with a 27 point lead.
After Huntingdon's defense forced another turnover on downs, the Hawks took over in great field position.
On the ensuing drive, Luke Bailey completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Nick Haas. Bailey's third touchdown of the afternoon extended Huntingdon's lead to 34-0.
On Huntingdon's next drive, the Hawks again drove deep into Averett territory. However, Averett stopped Huntingdon on the 12-yard line. However, kicker Chase Young knocked in a 29-yard field goal to give Huntingdon a 37-0 lead going into the final quarter.
Late in fourth, Averett finally scored on a 6-yard pass from Drew Evans to Taylor Booze.
Averett recovered an onside kick and scored yet again with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Terrance Owens to cut the lead to 37-13.
However, Huntingdon responded to the touchdown by returning the resulting kickoff 45-yards for a touchdown, sealing the win 44-13 victory for the Hawks.
Luke Bailey had yet another stellar afternoon, throwing for 246 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Vic Jerald led the Hawks on the ground with 96 yards, and a touchdown.
Defensively, Huntingdon was stout all afternoon. The Hawks gave up less than 300 yards and forced three turnovers.
Huntingdon now advances to Division III playoffs for only the second time in school history. The Hawks last trip to playoffs was in 2009.
Huntingdon's playoff opponent will be announced at 5:00 p.m., Sunday.