Hancock Hawks defensive lineman Devin Laneaux (58) makes a big sack in the third quarter of the Hawks' 28-14 victory over Gautier.

Three seasons ago, the Hancock Hawks' then-sophomore laden offensive line was affectionately known at "The Trench Puppies."

On Friday, the now senior-laden group played like a bunch of rabid dogs, as the Hawks (3-0) overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to beat the Gautier Gators 28-14 at Brett Favre Field.

The offensive line, however, was not the only group to stand out on Friday.

After giving up two early scores, the Hawks' defense pitched a shutout in the final three quarters, holding Gautier to 130 yards on their final seven drives, with 75 of those yards coming in the final minute versus a prevent defense.

Emotions were high for the Hawks to start Friday's game.

Prior to the game, the school honored cheerleader Emily Goss, who was tragically killed in a car accident in July.

Goss's younger sister gave the pre-game student message.

The Hawks were also coming off of a huge win last week against perennial power house Meridian.

"There was a lot of things going on tonight," Head Coach Neil Lollar said. "We were focused, but I think, in a way, we may have been a little too amped up."

Gautier opened the scoring on the first drive when quarterback Kaden Irving connected with Austin Rogers on a 41-yard scoring strike. Kyle Gager added the point-after to give the Gators a 7-0 lead.

Gautier then surprised the Hawks with an on-sides kick which it recovered at the 46.

Eight plays later, Ka'darrious Miner scored on an 18-yard run. Gager added the point-after to give the Gators a 14-0 lead.

Once again, the Gators gambled on an on-sides kick, and once again, they recovered the ball, this time at midfield.

Three plays later, however, Hancock's Kyle Shippy intercepted a pass in the end zone to give the Hawks some momentum.

"The interception was huge," Lollar said. "It stopped the bleeding and helped us get going in the right direction."

The Hawks then embarked on a long drive, which reached the Gators 15, but a missed field-goal, kept the score at 14-0.

A sack by Cameron Ganier and a third-down tackle by Colby McGough thwarted the Gators next drive.

The Hawks, however, were unable to score before the half.

Instead of giving a fiery half-time speech, Lollar said, the coaches remained calm and collected.

Senior offensive tackle Christian Sapp said the team knew what needed to be done.

"We said we were going to go out and dominate," Sapp said. "It was a total team effort in the second half."

After trading possessions to start the third quarter, the Hawks took over at the 38 with eight minutes to play in the stanza.

Hancock then embarked on a 10-play drive for its first score of the night. Quarterback Sema'J Robertson capped the drive when he connected with tight end Michael Nelson for 11 yards on a great diving catch in the back of the end zone. It was Nelson's first high school touchdown.

Austin Hyde added the point-after to cut the lead to 14-7.

After quick three-and-out thanks to a huge sack by Devin Laneaux, the Hawks took over at their own 37 with 10:52 to play.

Sebastian Fausett got the drive going with a 13-yard run, then Robertson took off on a 29-yard scramble. Jordan Fouchee then took an end around 18-yards for a touchdown.

Hyde's point-after tied the score at 14-14 with 9:18 to paly.

The Hawks' defense forced another three-and-out, forcing a punt to the 40.

The Trench Dogs then took over, as the Hawks ran the ball seven consecutive times to reach the end zone. Fausett collected 49 yards on the drive, including a two-yard touchdown to give the Hawks the lead. Hyde added the point-after to give Hancock a 21-14 lead with 4:30 to play.

An interception by Tanner Lemon thwarted the Gators' next drive, and once again, it was Fausett time.

The senior running back carried the ball five consecutive times and iced the game with a six-yard touchdown with 1:04 to play.

Hyde's point-after made the score 28-14, which was the final.

Fausett led all rushers with 23 carries for 164 yards and two scores.

Sapp said he and his line mates did an outstanding job on the evening.

"It's every offensive lineman's dream to have a game like this," Sapp said. "We just took the team on our shoulders and imposed our will. It's a great feeling."

Lollar said he feels his team is headed in the right direction headed into next week's showdown at Stone County.

"The team is buying in and they are all working hard for the common goal," Lollar said.

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