HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – The Hickory Hornets secured an outright region title Friday night with a 41-28 victory in a wild ‘Game of the Week’ against Sharon.
Quarterback Michael Henwood was the star of the night with five total touchdowns for the Hornets who had one big play after another including long touchdowns on their first two plays from scrimmage.
The Hornets win overshadows a big night from Sharon’s Jaon Phillips who had a punt return for a touchdown, an interception return to the one-yard line which led to another score, and a touchdown-saving forced fumble in the game.
The Tigers closed a 21 point gap in the fourth quarter, only to run out of steam late in the game.
Hickory improves to 5-0 on the season while Sharon drops to 1-4.
The Hornets stung quickly with Henwood scoring on the opening play of the game with a 59-yard touchdown run 20 seconds into the game.
After the Hickory defense held on a fourth-and-five opportunity for Sharon deep in Hornets territory, they struck again on the first play of their drive. This time, Ramarion Whitehead got behind the Tigers defense and scored on an 80-yard catch-and-run from Matt Cannone. With 5:21 left in the first quarter, the Hornets led 14-0.
Brett Salsgiver completed a long Tigers drive on the following possession to put Sharon on the board for the first time. After several successful running plays in a row, Sharon dialed up a naked bootleg and Salsgiver was able to fool the defense and walk into the end zone to close the gap to 14-7 with 10:49 left in the first half.
The ensuing Hornets drive did not result in a score on the first play, but it didn’t take long as Henwood scored his second long touchdown run of the game (40 yards) with 8:57 left in the second quarter to extend the lead back to double digits, 21-7.
Hickory nearly had their third ‘first play’ TD in the first half late in the second quarter, but an incredible hustle play by Sharon’s Jaon Phillips erased a would-be 70-yard score with a forced fumble, leading to a touchback.
Hickory’s fourth TD of the first half came on a 34 yard TD pass from Henwood to Cannone with just 17 seconds remaining in the half, giving them a 28-7 lead going into the locker room.
After a scoreless third quarter in the game, Salsgiver scored his second rushing TD of the game early in the second quarter, a one-yard QB sneak with 11:45 remaining in the game to close the gap to 28-14. The score was set up by an interception by Phillips which was returned to the one-yard line.
Hickory was forced to punt on the ensuing possession, and the incredible night for Phillips continued as he returned the punt 80 yards for a Sharon score. The Tigers then trailed by only seven, 28-21.
Following their score, the Tigers decided to ride their momentum and try an onside kick, which they recovered. They drove the ball down the field and Salsgiver picked up his third rushing touchdown to tie the game at 28-28.
With 5:20 left in the game, Henwood scored his 3rd rushing touchdown of the night to put the Hornets back ahead 34-28. The extra point attempt was blocked.
Henwood’s fourth rushing touchdown of the game came from 46 yards out while the Hornets were attempting to run out the clock with 50 seconds remaining in the game to extend the lead to 41-28.
You can watch the ‘Game of the Week’:
Digital over the air at 33.2 and in HD at 62.2
Armstrong Cable Channel 13 and 108
Comcast Cable Channel 3
Direct TV Channel 15
MyYTV – Spectrum Channel 997 or 1008
FOX – Spectrum Channel 12 or 1012
Get updated scores, throughout the playoffs on the WKBN scores page.
Looking for standings? Visit the WKBN high school football standings page.
Watch interviews and get player profiles for some of the best players in the Valley – visit the WKBN Big 22 page.
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