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Tigers defeat Hilliard 48-42 on game’s last play

The Tigers’ Isaiah Johnson returns a second-half kickoff.

The Tigers’ Isaiah Johnson returns a second-half kickoff.


BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Staff Writer

Host Hilliard scored three touchdowns against Union County High School’s junior varsity players to rally and tie the score in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Ty Cook found fellow sophomore Seth Hendricks in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown as time expired to give the Tigers a 48-42 win in an Aug. 22 preseason kickoff classic.

Union head coach Ronny Pruitt said he saw both good and bad things, but he was proud of the effort and the fact every player got a chance to contribute.

“We had a lot of young kids,” Pruitt said. We got them all in. We wanted to get them all in.”

Union’s varsity starters rolled up 382 yards of offense in the first half and took a 29-12 lead into the half. Isaiah Johnson, who rushed for 72 yards on seven carries, and Darion Robinson, who rushed for 47 yards on six carries, each scored a touchdown in the first half, with Johnson also catching a 40-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Cox.

Cox also rushed for a touchdown in the first half.

Varsity starters and backups played the majority of the third quarter, with quarterbacks Cox and Casey Driggers each leading a scoring drive to put the Tigers up 42-12. Cox had a 15-yard touchdown pass to Parker Hodgson, while Driggers threw a 16-yard touchdown to Franklin Williams.

Hodgson led all receivers with four receptions for 70 yards, while Johnson added two receptions for 69 yards.

Cox was 13-of-25 for 234 yards.

Andre Hampton rushed for 91 yards on nine carries, while Antwan Durn had 87 yards on 10 carries.

Hilliard scored on 20-yard pass play and successfully went for two to tie the score at 42-all with 1:02 to play. After recovering an onside kick, Union got a boost from a personal foul penalty against Hilliard and a 21-yard run by Dairon Alexander.

Cook had a 9-yard touchdown run nullified by a holding penalty, but he threw the winning score on the next play.

Casey Driggers wraps up a Hilliard receiver.

Casey Driggers wraps up a Hilliard receiver.

Junior Varsity quarterback Ty Cook scrambles out of the pocket in the fourth quarter.

Junior Varsity quarterback Ty Cook scrambles out of the pocket in the fourth quarter.

Wide receiver Franklin Williams stiff arms a defender en route to a big gain in the third quarter.

Wide receiver Franklin Williams stiff arms a defender en route to a big gain in the third quarter.

Isaiah Johnson runs for a big gain in the first quarter.

Isaiah Johnson runs for a big gain in the first quarter.

Union County defenders Shamar Highland (42) and Josh Smith (55) tackle a ball carrier. Treyce Hersey is pictured in the background.

Union County defenders Shamar Highland (42) and Josh Smith (55) tackle a ball carrier. Treyce Hersey is pictured in the background.

Running back Antwan Durn gets tripped up along the Hilliard sideline.

Running back Antwan Durn gets tripped up along the Hilliard sideline.

Seeing action at quarterback, Casey Driggers fights off a defender as he tries to scramble for positive yards.

Seeing action at quarterback, Casey Driggers fights off a defender as he tries to scramble for positive yards.

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