On Thursday, Aug. 29, the Seminole Ridge High School football squad hosted Forest Hill High School for the Hawks’ regular season opener, falling 20-14 to the Falcons in a thriller of a contest.
The Hawks were off on the opening week of the season, and Seminole Ridge head coach Rick Casko believes that the extra time off did not help the team.
“It definitely did not help,” he explained. “I’m not going to use an excuse that it hurt, but it didn’t help. Forest Hill had another game in there, so they were a bit more seasoned. It’s an edge early; we just made a lot of mistakes. This was a one-play game.”
The first quarter remained scoreless, and it was the Falcons that notched the game’s first score.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Falcons broke open on a 40-yard touchdown run and converted on a two-point attempt that put them ahead 8-0.
Seminole Ridge wasted little time responding. On their ensuing possession, the Hawks’ offense sustained a solid drive that was capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shane Goolsby to Louchy Tessono. At that point, the Hawks trailed by just one point, 8-7.
However, Forest Hill responded in kind, charging 70 yards down the field to punch in a two-yard touchdown run to grab a 14-7 lead. That score would hold until the conclusion of the first half, but not without moments of excitement. The teams exchanged fumbles, and Seminole Ridge corner back Johnny Johnson picked off a pass in the end zone, stopping another potential score by the Falcons.
Seminole Ridge received the kickoff to begin the second half and tied the game on their initial possession. The Hawks took three minutes off the clock and marched 68 yards and capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Reyan Blake, which brought the score to 14-14.
With 4:16 remaining in the third quarter, Forest Hill drove 72 yards to reclaim the lead with another score to put the Falcons up 20-14. Both teams battled defensively through the final quarter. The Hawks had an opportunity to at least tie the game, driving to the Falcon 7-yard line, but an interception at the goal line nullified the scoring chance. Forest Hill was able to secure the win with clock management, moving the chains and locking up the scoreboard at 20-14.
“I told the kids that they played really hard the whole game,” Casko said. “We just had too many mistakes. We had penalties, turnovers, there were so many critical plays, that if they went our way, this game could be different. It’s tough for the kids, but they worked hard and battled to the end.”