EPC advances to quarterfinals with big win over Hazen
The Hazen Hornets made their second trip to Lepanto this past Friday. The first was in week three of the regular season, the second was the second round of the Class 2A state football playoffs. The result was the same as EPC used another strong defensive performance to post a 34-14 win and advance to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
Hazen took the opening kickoff, starting from their own 28-yard line and moved down the field and into EPC territory. Facing fourth and 15 on he EPC 21-yard line, the Hornets decide to go for the first down. Hazen's quarterback is pressured and tosses one into the end zone only to have T.J. Young intercepts the ball and return it out to the EPC 13-yard line with 7:18 left in the first quarter. EPC couldn't capitalize on the turnover and was forced to punt from their own eight-yard line. Aaron Scales booms a 64 yard punt to put Hazen on their own 28-yard line for their second possession. Hazen's offense was ineffective and were forced to punt the ball back to the Warriors. A short punt gave EPC the ball on the Hazen 47-yard line. Trevor McDaniel picked up 17 yards on a reverse on the first play after the punt putting the ball on the Hornets 30-yard line. Hazen's defense comes up big as Aaron Scales' pass is intercepted in the end zone with 27 seconds left. The first quarter ended with the score 0-0.
Hazen had the ball to start the second quarter and found he hard getting any yardage against the Warriors defense and were forced to punt with 10:48 left. The Warriors were the first team to put points on the board as Aaron Scales hit a wipe open Tristan McDaniel for a 34 yard touchdown pass with 7:57 left in the quarter. Trevor McDaniel was stopped on the two-point conversion run making the score 6-0 EPC. The EPC defense forced the Hornets to punt with the Warriors taking over at the Hazen 48-yard line. The Scales brothers hooked up on a long pass play that took the ball down to the two-yard line. Two penalties against EPC moved the ball back out to the 15-yard line. Aaron Scales dropped back to pass before being flushed from the pocket finding running room down the left sideline for the touchdown with 3:05 left. Trevor McDaniel ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 Warriors. Hazen started their next series at their own 47-yard line and were soon facing fourth down. The Hornets went for the first down but Paul Pilgrim made sure they didn't convert as he sacked Hazen's quarterback giving the ball back to EPC with 30 seconds before half. Hazen intercepted Aaron Scales' pass at the five-yard line with eight seconds left before half. Hazen ran the clock out and the teams went to half with the Warriors up 14-0.
The Warriors started the second half with a bang as Tristan McDaniel fields the kickoff and pitches it back to his brother Trevor who takes it up the middle and goes untouched for a 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Byron Scales' two-point conversion run is stopped leaving the score 20-0 EPC with 11:47 left. Pilgrim came up big again as Hazen faced fourth and four and decided to go for the first down. Pilgrim came blazing in and dropped the runner for a seven yard loss giving the ball to EPC with 9:13 left in the quarter. EPC took advantage of the Hazen turn over and drove down field with Trevor McDaniel scoring on a five yard run with 4:02 left. The two-point pass play is no good making the score 26-0 Warriors. Hazen finally got on the board with 19 seconds left in the half on one yard touchdown run. Hazen added the two-point conversion run to make it 26-8. Tristan McDaniel looked as if he was going to let the kickoff go into the end zone before picking up and finding a hole to return the ball down to the Hornets 35-yard line with nine seconds left in the third quarter.
EPC continued the drive they started at the end of the third quarter as Byron Scales scored on a five yard run to make it 32-8. Aaron Scales passed to Corbin Truelove for the two-point conversion making it 34-8 with 10:55 left in the game. Hazen went 68 yards on the first play after the kickoff for a touchdown with 10:32 left to play. Hazen's two-point conversion was no good making it a 34-14 lead for EPC. Hazen tried an onside kick only to see EPC fall on the ball at their own 38-yard line. EPC converted a fourth down play as Aaron Scales hit Quinn Young with a pass with Young juking the defender before being tackled on the Hazen 26-yard line with 3:47 to go. A six yard run and a personal foul moved the ball down to the Hornets nine-yard line. EPC kneeled on the ball on fourth down giving the ball to Hazen with 17 seconds left in the game.
"It was a physical ball game and our defense was ready for the challenge," EPC coach Brian Weathers said after the game. "You take a couple plays were our defense seemed to relax, our defense was very stout tonight. We ran the ball very well and I think we confused them with a couple of our packages we had at the beginning of the game. I thought we we were very well prepared." "Trevor McDaniel has been outstanding the last four weeks. He battled turf toe early in they year and you can tell he's gotten healthy rushing for 600-650 yards the last four weeks. Hats off to our offensive linemen for opening up those holes for him to run through."
Trevor McDaniel rushed for 102 yards and touchdown and added a touchdown on a kickoff return. Aaron Scales passed for 116 yards and touchdown and also had a rushing touchdown on the night.
The Warriors defense held Hazen to 222 total yards on the night. Pilgrim led the team with 14 tackles including five for loss and a sack. Byron Scales totaled 12 tackles on the night for EPC.