By Steve Patterson / Sports
RED OAK – To say the last few years of Hawks football have been tough is an understatement.
Being in the toughest 5A district in the state didn’t help matters, but in late 2017, Red Oak I.S.D. hired new Head Football Coach Chris Ross. Ross instantly started to instill a new culture into the Hawks football program. The players have bought into this and last Friday night everyone saw the hard work the coaches and players have put into their program and more importantly, themselves.
The Hawks opened their 2018 season Friday night with a home game against the Denton Braswell Bengals at Billy Goodloe Stadium, and the large crowd was not disappointed.
The 1st quarter was more about offensive firepower from both teams as the Bengals moved the ball down the field on their first possession, with the help of several Hawk defensive penalties, to score the first points of the game. Red Oak answered back with an impressive drive of their own, going to the air and then the punishing combo of Dee Johnson (28) and C.J. Palmer (15) on the ground. Sophomore Quarterback Joshua Ervin (2) connected on two key passes in the drive to get the Hawks on the board with an 18 yard TD wide open pass to K.D. Hall (9) and tie the game at 7.
The 2nd quarter turned into a defensive struggle. Both defenses got their feet under theirselves and slowed down the running and passing games. The Hawks did manage to get into field goal range late in the second half and tacked on a 33-yard kick by Angel Medina to take a 10-7 lead into halftime.
After halftime, Red Oak’s Raymond Gay (7) took the opening kick-off 89 yards for a quick touchdown, extending the Hawks lead to 17-7. From that point it was all Red Oak. The Bengals QB was continuously under pressure or getting hit. On the Hawks next offensive series, senior running back Dee Johnson busted out of a hole and sprinted 44 yards to the end zone, putting Red Oak up 24-7.
The Hawk’s offensive line opened the running lanes for both Johnson and Palmer going into the 4th quarter. Between the speed of Johnson, the bruising running of Palmer and the run/pass threat of Ervin, the Bengals were chasing most of the 4th quarter. The Hawks defensive never let up as the game clocked ticked down to zero.
The Bengals never really got close to scoring in the 2nd half. The Hawk’s coaches planned a great game, and the players believed in the plan and went out and did their job. The tale of the tape tells the story. The Hawks accumulated 224 yards rushing to the Bengals 96. Ervin went 3 for 9 for 46 yards and two interceptions. Johnson carried 12 times for 91 yards and 1 TD, while C.J. Palmer carried 19 times for 89 yards.
The Hawks will be back at work this week fixing some of their mistakes. They had several turn-overs and 10 penalties for 66 yards, most of which came in the 1st half. Not all that surprising for the first game of the season.
The Hawks travel to Princeton High School this Friday to go up against the Panthers. Princeton defeated South Garland 45-6 Friday night.