Triton made a defensive adjustment after host Hunt had taken a 10-0 lead in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A football playoffs on Friday night. The Warriors didn’t score again until 19 seconds were left and the Hawks were assured of a third-round trip to Jacksonville (7-4) with a 35-16 triumph.
“We had an adjustment ready for their power T offense,” said Triton coach Ben Penny. “We went from an odd front to a 6-man even front. That allowed us to have more numbers on the edge. … The defense played lights out for three quarters.”
J.J. Cowan scored on a 6-yard run for Triton’s first points with 7:10 left in the first half. Carter Daughtry kicked the first of five extra points. The Hawks (7-5) took a 14-10 lead on a 49-yard run by quarterback Jalen Evans 31 seconds before halftime.
Cowan had a 70-yard TD run early in the third quarter and Evans returned an interception 65 yards for a score as the third quarter ended
The pick six came the play after Triton defensive back Wyatt Avery was taken off the field by stretcher after sustaining a concussion. He was released from the hospital around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Eligah Holmes provided Triton’s final TD on a 25-yard run with 6:06 remaining.
The Hawks had 359 yards rushing.
Triton is in the third round for the first time since 2003.
“We had a rough week with a few out being sick,”Penn said. “I’m very proud of the way they came together tonight.
“They attacked us pretty well on the first drive, so we ahead with the adjustment early and it paid off.
“Jalen Evans once again put on a show out there. He put the team on his back and had a tremendous game. He’s just an incredible athlete.
“It’s fun coaching these guys right now. They’re determined.”
Linebacker Ross Stevens had 13 tackles and six assists.
“Ross Stevens probably had the best game of his career,” Penny said.
Stevens had three tackles for loss. Nate McKoy was in on 12 stops and Jamal Shaw was in on 10 tackles.
Cowan ran nine times for 113 yards.
“All of our backs had big nights,” Penny said. “J.J. is finally healthy and had some great runs. Eli Holmes (six carries, 53 yards) and Camauri (McDougald, nine carries, 80 yards) had big gains at crucial times. A.J. (Dewar, eight carries, 47 yards) has been our closer. When it’s time to move the chains and protect leads, we feed the bull. He did an outstanding job again.”