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Vikings Battle Past Hancock Central 34-14 in Region 7 Crossover on Senior Night

MACON, Ga. – In a must-win situation, the FPD football team did exactly what it had done three weeks prior: win in convincing fashion.

And now the Vikings (6-4, 4-2 Reg. 7) have the potential to earn a bid to the 2015 GHSA Postseason after Friday’s 34-14 victory over the Hancock Central Bulldogs (4-5, 2-3 Reg. 7) on Senior Night at Austin Childers Field at George S. Johnson Stadium.

The final GHSA Class-A Private power ratings and playoff brackets will be determined next week. Coming into Friday’s game, though, FPD held the no. 16 spot in GHSA Class-A Private Power Ratings.

“I can’t put it into words of how proud I am of our football team,” head coach Greg Moore said. “Three months ago when we weren’t getting the job done, being ‘normal’ probably would have meant giving up. But they didn’t, so I would say they are abnormal in a good way.”

FPD certainly didn’t show any signs of slowing down in a game of such magnitude, where a win would most likely guarantee a playoff berth and a loss would end the season.

On the second play from scrimmage, senior running back Reggie Gannt busted through the Hancock Central defensive line for a 61-yard touchdown and classmate Brad Powell hit the PAT for a 7-0 lead.

“The feeling of getting this win is amazing and unexplainable,” Gantt said, who finished the night with three touchdowns and 101 yards rushing. “I couldn’t have pictured it any other way. I’m just blessed that it actually happened.”

FPD added another score with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter when Will McCormick rushed in the end zone from 14-yards out. Powell’s PAT clanged off the upright, but the Vikings held a commanding 13-0 lead.

“This is a great feeling,” McCormick said. “It’s about the best you could hope for on Senior Night. I love our team and our senior guys. I’m glad we could all pull it together to end the regular season like this.”

After a back and forth second quarter, the the Vikings struck once more before halftime when McCormick threw to Gantt for a 23-yard touchdown. Powell’s PAT was good and the Viking lead was 20-0.

“We don’t go into games and say that one certain guy is going to have a big night,” Moore said. “But for Reggie to have a big night on Senior Night is icing on the cake and I’m extremely proud of him and all of them.”

The Bulldogs got on the board for the first time with 5:40 in the third quarter when quarterback Brandon Sibert threw a 17-yard fade post to the back corner of the end zone that was hauled in by a falling D’monta Walls. The Bulldogs went for the 2-point conversion and were successful via Shimu Bryant.

“They are a tough, tough football team,” Moore said, “They never quit. Coach Harris has done such a good job (there). But we knew we had to be patient to make them try to earn what they were doing.”

The Vikings answered right back, however, at the end of the quarter when McCormick again found Gantt for a 16-yard touchdown reception. With Powell’s point-after, FPD led 27-8 at the end of the third quarter.

“Reggie has been a Viking for a really long time,” Moore said. “It was his turn tonight and I’m really happy for him.”

In the fourth quarter both squads traded touchdowns.

At the 7:43 mark, Shimu Bryant rushed in a three-yard score but the 2-point conversion failed.

With 4:28 to play, McCormick threw a 12-yard touchdown to Armaun Smith and, along with Powell’s PAT, sealed the win at 34-14.

“I thought Will was really sharp tonight,” Moore said. “It was one his sharpest games all season. I told him late in the game that it was about the best I’ve ever seen him play. He was good with the ball, good with the things we were doing on the front, and good throwing. I just think he was a really good high school football quarterback tonight.

“I can’t tell you the number of hours he’s put into it,” Moore added. “But to see it pay off right here at the end and to see him play one of the best ball games he’s ever played as our quarterback is really good.”

Now all the Vikings can do is wait to see if they’re in or out of the playoffs.

“I have no idea,” Moore said. “We have tried really hard not to worry about it. All our kids know is that we aren’t going to practice Monday because nothing will be decided. We’ll get together as a team on Tuesday and I think then we’ll have a good handle on what’s going to happen.”

Added Moore: “If we’re in, congratulations to our kids. If we’re not, congratulations to our kids. They dug themselves out of a barrel and did what they could about the situation at hand.”

Playoffs or not, Moore said there’s still something to take away from this season.

“Many lessons learned,” Moore said. “All of us will take away what it looks like to fight when there’s no reason to. I tip my hat to those 10 seniors to make sure that’s what everyone in that locker room did. I think that will go a long way and I think that’s their legacy. Everyone will talk about how the 2015 team dug itself out of a hole when others said ‘you might as well cover them up because it’s over.”

Check www.fpdvikings.com, @FPDVikingSports on Twitter and FPD Athletics on Facebook for updates on the FPD varsity football team next week.

The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by following the Vikings on Twitter at @FPDVikingSports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FPDathletics.

GAME NOTES:
— FPD is now 3-0 all-time against Hancock Central. Tonight’s game was the first time both squads met since 2013.
— The last time FPD played Hancock Central, current head coach Greg Moore earned his 100th career victory. Tonight’s victory puts Moore’s career win total at 121.
— FPD has won four straight after dropping three in a row from Sept. 15-Oct. 9.
— The Vikings finished with a 4-1 home record in 2015. The last time FPD accomplished that was in 2011.
— The Vikings are now 18-10 in home games since joining the GHSA.
— It took FPD 41 plays from scrimmage to post 34 points while it took Hancock Central 56 plays to score 14.
— FPD’s defense allowed just 14 points to the Bulldogs on Friday night. In the all-time series history, FPD has allowed just 35 points, averaging 11.6 points per game allowed.
— Reggie Gantt and Will McCormick rushed for 223 of FPD’s 305 rushing yards.
— Eleven of FPD’s 13 first downs came via the rush against Hancock Central.
— Senior kicker Brad Powell recorded three touchbacks, adding his total to 14 in FPD’s current four-game winning streak. He was also 3-for-4 on PAT’s on Friday night.
— Dontrez Johnson was held scoreless, but still rushed for 78 yards on 15 attempts.
— Senior Night 2015: The FPD football seniors were honored in a pre-game ceremony on the field prior to kickoff vs. Hancock Central. Cheerleaders, band, dance and clay target shooting team seniors were honored at halftime of Friday’s contest.

POST-GAME VIDEOS:

Post-Game Team Meeting

Senior RB Reggie Gantt

Senior Quarterback Will McCormick

Head Coach Greg Moore

PHOTOS:
View Photos from FPD’s 34-14 Region 7 Crossover Win on Senior Night on Flickr!

BOX SCORE:
FPD 34, HANCOCK CENTRAL 14

Hancock Central 0-0-8-6—14
FPD 20-0-7-7—34

First Quarter
FPD — Gant 61 run (Powell kick)
FPD — McCormick 14 run (kick failed)
FPD — Gant 14 pass from McCormick (Powell kick)

Third Quarter
HC — Walls 18 pass from Sibert (Bryant run)
FPD — Gant 16 pass from McCormick (Powell kick)

Fourth Quarter
HC — Bryant 3 run (conversion failed)
FPD — Smith 12 pass from McCormick (Powell kick)

HC — FPD
First downs 15 — 13
Rushes-yards 43-208 — 33-305
Passing yards 36 — 111
Comp-Att-Int 5-13-1 — 6-8-0
Fumbles-Fumbles lost 2-2 — 3-1
Penalties-yards 2-10 — 5-65

TOP INDIVIDUALS:
RUSHING — Hancock Central: Bryant 17-116; Hill 7-43; FPD: Johnson 15-78; McCormick 10-122.
PASSING — Hancock Central: Sibert 5-13-1 36; FPD: McCormick 6-8-0 111.
RECEIVING — Hancock Central: Walls 1-17; Lott 2-13; FPD: Weaver 2-26; Gant 2-39.

MEDIA COVERAGE:
Football Friday Night Highlights (13WMAZ)
FPD Makes Case for Playoff Spot with Closing Victory (Macon Telegraph – Jamie Brooks)
41 NBC “The End Zone” Highlights with Bill Shanks  (41 NBC)

GAME REPLAY:
Watch the archived webcast of FPD Football vs. Hancock Central from Friday night, Nov. 5.

PHOTOS of the NIGHT (taken by Sidney Middlebrooks):

Reggie Gantt rushing for one of his three touchdowns scored in Friday’s 34-14 win vs. Hancock Central on Senior Night.

Reggie

 

FPD football seniors and manager Hannah McCook after Friday’s Senior Night ceremony.

Senior Night