RUNNERS UP- After only losing two regular season games and defeating Amite in a rematch in the quarterfinals, the St. Helena Hawks appeared the LHSAA 2A State Championship where they were defeated by top-seeded Welsh 38-26. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
By Jesse Brooks
The St. Helena Hawks have finished their season as the LHSAA 2A State Championship Runners Up as their second half comeback campaign was not enough to overcome top-seeded Welsh in last Friday’s 38-26 loss at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The Hawks were placed into a significant hole early on as their offense lost three fumbles, major factors that contributed to Welsh’s outburst of 28 unanswered points in the second quarter. At halftime, the Hawks were down 31-0.
“We made some mistakes and they capitalized off of them,” Hawks head coach Brandon Brown said. “It’s just part of the game. However, I am very proud of these guys.”
As the Greyhound defense did their part to hold the St. Helena run game in check, notably absent from the Hawks’ offense was senior running back Aaron Hurst, who suffered a broken bone in his neck against Ferriday in the Semifinal win.
“I think it (injuries) did play a part in it,” Brown said in postgame. “You’re talking about a guy who is pretty much the heart and soul of our team on offense and defense.”
Troy Hurst, who rushed 10 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We were just competing for him,” an emotional Hurst spoke of his injured cousin. “We just wanted to win.”
DO IT AGAIN- Hawks receiver Frednando Muse catches a touchdown in the state championship a week after his game winner at Ferriday. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
The Hawks looked like a different team coming out of half time, holding Welsh to only one more score for the rest of regulation, and scoring on opening drive of the second half.
The Hawks never earned a first down until Hurst gained 15 yards on a run after the intermission. Then Hurst lined up under center and completed a 32-yard pass to Devin Taylor. Hurst capped off the drive with a one-yard run with 9:02 left in the third quarter to finish a drive that lasted eight plays, 75 yards and three first downs.
FLIGHT LEADER- Senior Troy Hurst rushed for 63 yard on 10 carries in the 38-16 2A State Championship loss to Welsh. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
The Hawks would get their second touchdown early in the final quarter as Frednando Muse jumped up to grab a deep pass from senior quarterback Ricky Travis.
The Hawks continued to make a run by cutting the deficit 38-20 as Travis connected deep again to Hurst with 6:14 left to play.
Travis continued his arial attack even later in the fourth quarter by completing a 40-yard pass to Taylor. Hurst finished the drive with 1:58 remaining on a 7-yard touchdown run.
Despite their best efforts, time simply ran out on the Hawks’ comeback campaign.
“In the locker room I told my coaches that we could not let our kids down,” Brown said. “They went out in the second half and gave everything they had. We just fell a little short.”
IN THE AIR- Hawks Quarterback Ricky Travis threw for 230 yards and completed 12-of-25 passes. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
As the run game was challenged, Travis produced one of the best arial games of his career. He finished completing 12-of-25 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor made five catches for 146 yards, and Hurst had two catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Currently, the Hawks expect to return nine seniors next season.