Knowing this season’s championship game will be at Liberty Independent Troop Park, the Hinesville Hurricanes semi-professional football team is determined to make a run for state rings at home. They’re one step closer to that goal, having defeated the visiting Metter Rebels, 20-6, on Saturday. The ’Canes improved their regular-season record to 4-1.
During the first half, the teams exchanged penalties and turnovers caused by intercepted passes and fumbles.
However the Hurricane offense tightened up in the last few minutes of the first quarter, and quarterback Frank Troup hit Alan Busick in stride. Busick made it all the way down to the five-yard line. Two plays later, Troup hit Tyrone Gaines for a touchdown pass, but the Hinesville team missed the extra point.
Penalties were costly for the ’Canes, who were taken out of the red zone on several occasions for false starts and delay of game calls. On two occasions, the boys had kick returns brought back due to holding calls and an illegal block to the back.
In the second quarter, the Rebels were facing a fourth down when the Metter quarterback launched the pigskin and hit his receiver for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The half closed with the teams tied at 6.
Rainfall in the third quarter caused more fumbles and turnovers but as the game progressed, Hinesville’s dominant defense weakened the Rebels and the offense gained momentum.The Rebels tried to fake a kickoff for the second time in the game, but the plan backfired and the ’Canes took over with good field position. Joseph Matavao brought the ball to the 16-yard line and Badger ran it in to the seven-yard line. However, the ’Canes were called for an illegal formation. Hinesville quarterback Shawn Jones tried to hit Tyrone Gaines in the corner but was intercepted.
The Rebels got the ball on their own 19-yard line and tossed it. Hurricane defender Tracey Lewis stepped in front of the ball and the ’Canes sent their offense back on the field. However, a penalty negated a Hurricane touchdown and the ball eventually was turned over on downs.
Throughout the second half, the Rebel offense threatened the Hurricanes, but turnovers and penalties kept them just outside the end zone.
The game was still tied in the fourth quarter. Badger had a successful series of runs and the ’Canes made it inside the three-yard line, which set up a touchdown run. Matavao made the run for a 2-point conversion and the local team regained the lead.
Antonio Bartham made a critical fumble recovery late in the game. Lewis had a first-down run and was brought down by an illegal tackle, giving the ’Canes good field position. Troup faked the handoff to Badger and hit Gaines with a short pass. However, the offense collapsed on a bad snap, giving the ball back to the Rebels.
Inside the two-minute warning, the ’Canes got the ball back on the Rebel 24-yard line, which set up runs by Badger and Devon Grey. With five seconds on the clock, the Hurricanes huddled and snapped the ball. Badger plowed through the outside for a final touchdown, giving the ’Canes a 20-6 victory.