Hillgrove 45, Harrison 14

Hillgrove’s advantage over Harrison in team speed was evident on the Hawks’ first play from scrimmage, when Tavion Walker took a handoff wide right and went 59 yards for a touchdown, outrunning several defenders who had the angle on him on the sideline.

It was the first of four rushing touchdowns in the first half for the Hawks, who went on to a 45-14 victory Friday at Hillgrove in a 4-AAAAAA game that essentially decided the region’s No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, barring an upset or two in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Matt Wilson, Jaylen McCollough and Trevor Smith had the other touchdown runs as the Hawks built a 31-7 halftime lead.

“We thought we might,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said when asked about the speed advantage. “That was our hope. They’re bigger and stronger inside. We felt like we needed to get [to the outside] and do those things, and it worked out to be that way.”

Harrison (5-3, 2-2) came in allowing just 13.1 points per game. Hillgrove (6-3, 4-1) scored more than that in the first 10 minutes of the game and continued to pour it on the rest of the way.

After Hillgrove took the lead for good at 14-7 on Wilson’s touchdown run, the Hawks forced a three-and-out of each of Harrison’s next four possessions. Hillgrove’s average starting position on the resulting drives was the Harrison 49, and the Hawks took advantage, scoring 17 points in the second quarter to break the game open.

The Hawks finished the first half with a 310-107 advantage in total offense.

Wilson threw two third-quarter touchdown passes, a 77-yarder to Bingo Long and a 27-yarder to Walker. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.

Wilson was 15-for-25 passing for 257 yards and McCollough rushed for 67 yards on 14 carries for the Hawks, who had 473 yards of total offense.

Harrison finished with 260 total yards. Quarterback Harrison Frost was 13-for-25 passing for 149 yards and had a 9-yard touchdown pass to Aidan Loucks in the final three minutes. Darius Clark rushed for 73 yards on 17 carries. Starting quarterback Justin Fields completed one 13-yard pass and rushed for 19 yards on three carries but left the game in the first quarter and did not return.

“Our defense has played pretty well all year,” Ironside said. “Our offense has clicked better the last three weeks. It’s taken us some time to figure some things out. I thought the kids played outstanding.”

Harrison – 7-0-0-7 – 14

Hillgrove – 14-17-14-0 – 45

Hi – Tavion Walker 59 run (Eirik Abney kick)

Ha – C.J. Turner 2 run (Logan Blocksidge kick)

Hi – Matt Wilson 9 run (Abney kick)

Hi – Jaylen McCollough 17 run (Abney kick)

Hi – Trevor Smith 2 run (Abney kick)

Hi – Abney 25 field goal

Hi – Bingo Long 77 pass from Wilson (Abney kick)

Hi – Walker 27 pass from Wilson (Abney kick)

Ha – Aidan Loucks 9 pass from Harrison Frost (Blocksidge kick)