Behind an early offensive outburst and a gradual increase of defensive success throughout the game, the Hobbs football team held off a late rally Tuesday to beat Artesia, 9-7, in a 7 vs. 7 scrimmage at Watson Memorial field.
Eagles quarterback Gavin Hardison threw for all nine touchdowns, which included four in the first quarter. Two receivers caught two TD passes in the contest, and the defense allowed just one score to the Bulldogs in the final quarter after they scored thrice in the third.
It was a pretty solid effort altogether for Hobbs to beat one of its rivals, but considering the season hasn’t even started yet, Eagles head coach Charles Gleghorn was just happy to get some preseason practice in against another team.
“We just go so long going against ourselves,” he said. “To get to do it against someone else, where you see a different defense, that’s good to see how (the offense) gets adjusted.”
The way the game worked was each team got the ball for 10 consecutive minutes, where the offense tried to score as many times as it could within the time frame. The ball started at the opponent’s 40 yard-line at the start and after each touchdown, and the offense wasn’t constricted to the traditional four-down system of an actual game. Each team got four of those 10-minute quarters.
This system worked out great for both offenses, as each one found momentum at different parts of the game.
Artesia started out with the ball, and quarterback Taylor Null completed five of his first six passes. He finished the first quarter with two touchdown passes, including a 40-yard heave near the end of the frame.
The Eagles proved to have a better start, though, as Hardison completed 10 of 15 attempts and led them to four scores. Junior Jackson Kinney caught the first touchdown, which was an 18-yard strike on Hardison’s third attempt. Brenden Strickland caught the next two TDs from nine and 15 yards out, and Jet Black was the recipient of the fourth.
That momentum carried the Hobbs defense into the second frame, where Artesia scored just once. Hardison threw two more TDs in the second quarter, and then two more in the third. One of those was to Alec Finney, who paired with Strickland for the multiple scores.
Gleghorn was pleased with the work of his players, though felt Hardison got ahead of himself with the long balls at some points. Sometimes, it’s better to just go with the short play and move the chains, which is something that Gleghorn feels Hardison will get over the summer.
“We’ll watch the tape,” Gleghorn said. “He’ll work on it.”
The only slight hiccup Hobbs faced in this battle was in the third quarter, where the Bulldogs found some momentum. Null threw three touchdowns in the frame to keep the game close, but then the Eagles defense allowed just one score – albeit the third 40-yard TD pass it gave up – to hold on to the win.