While the Hawkinsville defense has gotten most of the attention this season -- and with good reason -- the Red Devils’ offense shouldn’t be overlooked.
Yes, the Red Devils’ defense has been dominant and has led the way, but the offense has done its part.
The result is a trip to the GHSA Class A public school championship game, where the Red Devils will face Irwin County at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Georgia Dome.
“The defense has helped the offense, and the offense has complemented the defense,” quarterback Dakota Sloan said. “The defense gets three-and-outs, and then the offense, we keep the defense off the field. We’re all working together. We’re a team, the way it’s supposed to be.”
The Hawkinsville defense has surrendered just 7.4 points and 126.9 yards per game this season and has controlled the action in the playoffs, allowing just 33 points in three wins.
The offense has done exactly what it needs to do, controlling the game with its ball-control attack that has allowed the Red Devils to run 665 plays to 562 for their opponents. Hawkinsville is averaging 23.9 points and 260.2 yards per game, with most of those yards coming on the ground. The Red Devils’ rushing attack averages 209.5 yards per game, and it is a balanced attack with seven players rushing for more than 200 yards during the season.
Leading the way is Reginald McDonald (121 carries, 623 yards and seven touchdowns), and he has gotten plenty of help from Sloan (98-458, 10), Hilliard Wright (75-362, two), Phillip Thompson (50-349, two), Warren Singletary (69-252, eight), Malik Holliman (42-244, three) and Tyrone Wright (38-234, three).
Sloan has completed 47-of-91 passes for 651 yards and two touchdowns, and the Red Devils have taken care of the ball, turning it over just 18 times (to 32 for the opposition).
“Our offensive line is the key,” McDonald said. “They’re playing so well. They make it easy on the running backs.”
The Red Devils will face another difficult test -- they have scored 47 points in their three wins in the playoffs -- Friday against Irwin County. The Indians’ lone loss came on Sept. 5 to Fitzgerald, and they have won 10 straight since then to sit at 11-1.
Six times this season, they have held their opponents to fewer than 10 points, including three shutouts.
“We just have to hold ourselves together and keep our cool,” Holliman said. “We just have to keep working together and do what we’ve been doing.”