Penalties can't derail Warhawks' victory plans

From Staff Reports

Henry County had a two-touchdown lead with just over a quarter left to play Friday and had just intercepted Jackson on a trick pass from its wide receiver. The Warhawks had good field position, and one more touchdown would demoralize Jackson.

Henry County moved to the Jackson 18 and then stopped. It wasn't due to a strong defensive effort by Jackson. It wasn't due to a lack of execution on offense. It was due to a dizzying array of penalties.

The Warhawks were called for eight penalties (one was declined) that stalled a potential game-sealing drive. Henry County punted, giving Jackson ample time to mount a comeback.

That never materialized. Jackson had problems against Henry County's defense all night in the Warhawks' 14-0 win. But the drive exposed Henry County's propensity through three games to hurt its offensive rhythm with penalties.

"When we get it near the endzone, it looks like we take a gun out and just blow our foot off and go backwards," Henry County coach Mike Rozier said. "There's no excuse. That's just a lack of discipline. That's a lack of concentration. It starts with myself, the coaches and then it just filters down the program."

Against Jackson, Henry County (1-2, 1-0 Region 4-AAA) had 9 penalties for 65 yards. Two more penalties were declined. The Warhawks had 6 penalties for 35 yards in a 13-7 loss to Eagle's Landing Christian two weeks ago.

With a week off before its next game Sept. 24 against Sandy Creek, the defending Class AAAA champion, Rozier said he hopes his team can eliminate its tendency to make things harder for itself on offense.

"This is where we've really got to get better at some of those things," Rozier said. "We've got to make sure that when that gun does come out, it's an empty chamber in there. Right, now we're blowing some toes off."

IDLE TIME: This week is one of rest for several Southern Crescent teams. In all, five teams have their bye this week — Eagle's Landing Christian (3-0), Henry County, Luella (2-1), North Clayton (2-1) and Strong Rock Christian (0-2-1).

Luella will have its second straight week off after starting the season a week earlier than other Southern Crescent teams.

DEFENSIVE ADJUSTMENTS: Manchester had 123 yards of offense in the first half against Eagle's Landing Christian as the team went into the intermission tied at 14-14.

ELCA players said that the Blue Devils came out in a new offense that they did not see during film study leading up to the game.

However, the Chargers were able to make some halftime adjustments to the defense to shut Manchester down in the second half.

The Blue Devils only had 13 rushing yards, and no passing yards in the second half.

"Coach (Jonathan) Gess was able to go in there at halftime and make some adjustments," ELCA defensive back Will Dellinger said. "He is real good about making adjustments."

OTHER WAYS TO SCORE: While the majority of North Clayton's points have come through offensive touchdowns, the Eagles defense and special teams have also produced some points.

Through three games, the offense has nine touchdowns while the defense has three. In its 27-21 loss to Lovejoy last week, the Eagles score on a block punt.