Hillcrest’s Defense Leads the Way in Victory Over Wetumpka
On Sep. 12, 2020, the Hillcrest Patriots took on the Wetumpka Indians. Down 30-28 with 2.9 seconds left on its own 41-yard line, Hillcrest lateraled the ball nine times before quarterback sensation Ethan Crawford ran it from 46 yards out for a touchdown to win the game. This play went all viral and made its way to Sportscenter.
A year later, Wetumpka traveled to Hillcrest, in hopes to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss.
In a packed crowd, as the sun began to set, the captains finished the coin toss and the game was underway.
Wetumpka started with the ball. Their first drive was an underwhelming three-and-out after a false start put them in poor field position.
Hillcrest got the ball with 8:37 left in the first quarter on their 32-yard line. It was time for Ethan Crawford to take the field. However, after three run plays, they were forced to punt.
Wetumpka then got the ball but went three-and-out again after a Hillcrest sack.
After a punt interference, the Hillcrest Patriots were in good field position at their own 42-yard line. On third down, Crawford broke free for a big run to Wetumpka’s 42-yard line. A couple of plays later, running back Jay Brown had a 22 yard gain.
After a few more runs, Hillcrest found themselves at 4th&3 on Wetumpka’s five-yard line. In a designed QB run, Crawford had a man right in front, but juked him out and ran towards the right side and landed in the endzone. The extra point by kicker Andrew Scott was good to put Hillcrest up 7-0 with 18.6 seconds left in the first quarter (score at the end of the first quarter).
The next possessions for both Wetumka and Hillcrest were three-and-out punts.
Wetumpka got the ball back with 9:39 left in the second quarter. On the fourth play of the drive, quarterback Nate Rodgers threw an interception to sophomore DB Barkley Crawford.
Hillcrest started the drive on their own 27 with 8:21 left in the half. On the first play of the drive Running back Jamarion Johnson had a big run all the way to Wetumpka’s 41-yard line. On the very next play, Crawford threw it to Johnson for a 16-yard gain.
After driving down the field, including a fourth-down conversion, Crawford threw a bullet to J’Quon Sturdivant who made a sliding catch for a 14-yard touchdown to put them up 14-0 with 5:49 remaining in the half.
Down two touchdowns, Wetumpka knew they had to make something happen to stay in this game. On the second play, Rodgers connected with wide receiver Malik Owens on a 28-yard catch-and-run. On the very next play, Rodgers found a hole and ran 49 yards for a touchdown to make the score 14-6 (missed PAT).
With 4:37 left in the half, Hillcrest had a good return to the 50-yard line. They were able to drive down the field due to multiple runs by multiple players. With ten seconds left, Hillcrest lined up for a field goal, but Andrew Scott couldn’t put it through the uprights as the halftime score remained 14-6 Hillcrest.
The second half got off to a slow start and both defenses dominated the entire second half.
With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, Barkley Crawford rose up once again, with an interception deep in Patriot territory taking away momentum from the Indians.
Hillcrest was able to inch down the field, but missed a 21-yard field goal by kicker Andrew Scott.
After a quick three and out, the Patriots got to the 8-yard line and this time Scott connected on a 25-yard field goal with 4:20 left in the game-sealing the deal for the Patriots.
Hillcrest head coach Jamie Mitchell was pleased with how his team battled overall.
"That’s high-level football right there and people really got treated to a good football game," said Coach Mitchell. “Wetumpka's got a good football team, they’ve got athletes all over the field and they battled their tails and I know our kids did too.”
Wetumpka head coach Tim Perry looks to improve on offense but saw promise in the defensive effort tonight.
“Our defense is playing pretty well, we just have to clean up some mistakes on offense,” Perry said.
The Indians look to make those improvements next week against Benjamin Russell and Hillcrest hosts Hueytown in a regional matchup.