Triton won its All American Conference varsity football opener on Friday night, 37-34, over visiting E.E. Smith.
The Hawks had been competitive in an 0-3 start despite not scrimmaging due to COVID protocols and some key in-season injuries.
“It was good to see the offense firing on all cylinders tonight,” said Triton coach Ben Penny. “The guys ran hard all night and the line did an outstanding job.
“We are still battling through some injuries. We have been in this situation two times before and ended up losing at the end. Tonight we battled through it and finally got the win. We’re 1-0 in conference and that’s all that matters right now.”
The Golden Bulls (0-3, 0-1 AAC) took an 8-0 lead less than three minutes into the game but the Hawks answered with a scoring carry by Brandon Watts and conversion kick by Carter Daughtry to trail 8-7 with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
Triton pulled even at 14 on a touchdown by J.J. Cowan late in the first quarter.
An interception by Cowan was followed by a scoring run from Camauri McDougald as the Hawks took a 21-14 lead with 8:04 left in the half. A field goal by Daughtry gave the hosts a 24-20 lead at the break.
E.E. Smith took a 26-24 lead through the air before Triton went ahead to stay on a touchdown run by Watts with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks pushed the lead to 37-26 after an interception by McDougald as Eli Holmes scored from 49 yards out with 10 seconds remaining in the third.
“Defensively we played well overall but gave up a few really big plays, getting caught peaking in the backfield on some big pass plays,” Penny said. “We need to clean that up before heading into Terry Sanford next week.”