By Anthony Rhoads
Hancock Central ran over Eagle's Landing Christian on its way to a 20-12 victory Friday night in the first round of the Class A state playoffs.
Hancock Central (5-6) racked up 266 yards rushing with two players breaking the 100-yard mark, including Cordaro Lewis with 136 and Travis Webb with 114.
"We didn't play well at all," ELCA head coach Tim Luke said. "I give Hancock Central credit. They came to play and came out and played their best game of the year."
Eagle's Landing Christian ends its first season in the Georgia High School Association at 8-3.
"I'm proud of my boys," Luke said. "I'm proud of the season we had. We have nothing to hang our heads about; we made the playoffs in our first season of GHSA football."
While Hancock Central pretty much ran at will, ELCA struggled offensively for much of the game.
ELCA only had 55 total yards (16 rushing, 39 passing) in the first half.
The Chargers trailed 8-0 after the first half but came back with 8:25 in the third quarter.
The Chargers faced a fourth-and-two on its own 32 and they decided to go for a fake punt.
Kerk Murray ran 68 yards for a touchdown to bring the score to 8-6. Murray led ELCA in rushing with 116 yards on nine carries.
On Hancock Central's next possession, Lewis fumbled on first-and-10 and Alec Huber recovered for ELCA at the Hancock Central 48.
On second down, Cole Springer completed a 19-yard pass for Russ Cooper and on the next play, Murray ran 23 yards to put the Chargers at the 2-yard line.
Springer then scored on a quarterback sneak to give ELCA a 12-8 lead with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Hancock Central scored twice to take a 20-12 lead.
Eagle's Landing Christian had one last chance with just more than a minute remaining.
The Chargers were faced with a fourth-and-32 on their own 9 but Springer completed a 46-yard pass to Cooper to put the Chargers at the Hancock Central 45.
"It was a clutch play to keep us alive," Luke said. "Offensive coordinator Paul Hoch made a great call on that play. I almost changed it but the boys talked me out of it. It was a great pass by Cole and Russ Cooper is such a great athlete; you saw what he did with it."
Eagle's Landing Christian's drive stalled at the Hancock Central 46. On a fourth and 11, ELCA got off a bad snap and Springer recovered with 24 seconds remaining.
Springer completed 5 of 15 passes for 105 yards.
Russ Cooper had two catches for 66 yards and Jonathan Boynton added two catches for 19 yards. Huber, who came into the game leading Class A in receptions, had one catch for 20 yards.
Hancock Central advances to play Bowdon, which beat Social Circle in first-round action Friday night.
Hancock Central 20, ELCA 12
Scoring by quarters
H - 0 8 0 12 - 20
E - 0 0 12 0 - 12
H - Travis Webb 45 run :34 (Brandon Nolley run)
E - Kerk Murray 68 run 8:25 (pass failed)
E - Cole Springer 2 run 6:20 (pass failed)
H - Nolley to Montrean Davis 13 pass 11:22 (run failed)
H - Cordaro Lewis 4 run 2:26 (pass failed)