The Hawks are currently 8-2 and have been running over opponents as of late, outscoring the opposition 195-22 during their four-game winning streak. For the season, Shaw’s offense has averaged 36.4 points per game, while the defense has given up just 8.9 points a night. Since the start of the 2011 season, the defending 1A North Half Champions are 20-5.
Shaw, the No. 2 seed from Region 2, will begin the first round of 1A State Football Playoffs at home as the Hawks will host the Falkner Eagles (9-2, No. 3 seed Region 1) Friday night for a 7 p.m. contest.
Shaw head football Kendrick Smith said he has been pleased with the team’s performance heading into the playoffs.
“We’ve been playing pretty good football over the last month or so,” Smith said. “We’re excited that the playoff time is here, and we’re wanting to get another shot at it. We’re still getting better as a football team, and hopefully we’ll peak going through out these playoffs.”
The Hawks, at one point during the year, were open on back-to-back weeks. Since coming off the layoff on Oct. 26, the Hawks have been fresh and ready to go.
“Those two weeks off were good for the players and the coaching staff,” Smith said. “ We took a little break and just concentrated on ourselves instead of another football team.”
Falkner has been a solid offense team this year by scoring an average of 37.1 points per contest. The Eagles’ running game is particularly good as they’ve rushed for an average of 329.1 yards a contest.
“Falkner is going to run the ball,” Smith said. “They’re a well coached football team. They have a good scheme, and they’re going to try to pound the ball.”
For Shaw, senior running back and linebacker Christopher Harthone has rushed 753 yards with 15 touchdowns on 117 carries and has recorded 71 tackles with eight sacks. Junior quarterback Andre Pruitt has been had a huge year as well by completed 38-of-76 passes for 935 yards with 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Junior linebacker Lerandel Allen (81 tackles, 5 sacks) and senior linebacker Ledavious Rice (78 tackles, 4 sacks) have been key players for the Hawks on defense.
For Falkner, sophomore running back Jeramie Lawrence has rushed for 1,741 yards with 25 touchdowns on just 175 carries to lead the offense, while senior defensive back Dallas Hill has led the defense with 60 tackles, seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
The winner of the Shaw-Falkner game will take on the winner of the Vardaman-Coffeeville game next week in the second round.