Photo: Hokes Bluff’s Brody Lumpkin (obscured) and Hunter Burke (30) stop Cherokee County’s Damien Ramsey short of the goal line in a two-point conversion attempt that would have won the game in overtime during the Eagles’ 28-27 victory in Class 4A, Region 6 action last Friday (Oct. 18). (Alex Chaney)
It took two overtime periods, but Hokes Bluff clinched its fourth straight postseason berth with a 28-27 victory over Class 4A, Region 6 rival Cherokee County last Friday (Oct. 18) at HBHS.
As the region’s likely fourth seed, the Eagles (6-2, 4-2) will travel to the Region 5 winner on the first round of the state playoffs on Nov. 8.
“Cherokee County’s playing their best ball right now, so I’m very proud of our kids,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Robertson. “I thought it was as good an effort as we’ve had this year.”
Robertson pointed to the play of senior running back/linebacker Darrian Meads and senior quarterback/safety Ashton Gulledge as key contributors to the victory. Gulledge was 7 of 14 in passing for 123 yards and two touchdowns rushed 12 times for 65 yards and a score. Meads gained 82 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Gulledge and Meads also led defensively with 18 and 12 tackles, respectively.
“Darrian and Ashton are two super plays who really stepped up for us in playing both ways most of the season. It’s great for those two to say that the made the playoffs all four years of varsity.”
With score tied 14-14 at the end of regulation, the Warriors (4-4, 2-4) struck first in the extra session on Slade Alexander’s 10-yard TD run and Daniel Meija’s extra point.
Hokes Bluff responded with Gulledge’s 10-yard touchdown run and Jalan Burns’ PAT.
Meads then ran seven yards for the score and Burns provided the extra in the second overtime, but CCHS answered with a 10-tard TD run by Kendrick Fife. But the Warriors elected to go for the win on a two-point conversion attempt, and he Eagles stopped Fife short of the end zone to secure the win.
Alexander completed 12 of 17 passes for 177 yards and rushed 19 times for 58 yards. Fife finished with 111 rushing yards on 24 carries. Connor Elrod had six receptions for 101 yards, while Whit Johnson caught five passes for 57 yards.
Hokes Bluff to a 7-0 lead that lasted until halftime. Gulledge threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Robinson with 46 seconds left in the first quarter. Burns added the PAT.
Gulledge and Robinson hooked up for another TD pass at 5:48 of the third period, this time from 16 yards out. Burns once more nailed the extra point.
But a pair of 1-yards Fife touchdown runs combined with two PATs from Meija in the fourth quarter forced overtime.
Nick Collins finished with 11 tackles for the Eagles, while Tucker Marsh had 10.
“Obviously, anything can happen when you get into the playoffs no what your seed is, as we’ve proven over the past few years,” said Robertson. “But we’ve still got two tough [regular season] games left.”
Hokes Bluff concludes region pay this Friday (Oct. 25) with a visit to Jacksonville.