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Hazlewood's Keenen Porter dashes past Appalachian's Emilio Maldanado for a touchdown in the first half of the Class 1A playoff game. The Golden Bears improved to 11-0 with their 28-0 win in Town Creek on Friday.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Hazlewood's Keenen Porter dashes past Appalachian's Emilio Maldanado for a touchdown in the first half of the Class 1A playoff game. The Golden Bears improved to 11-0 with their 28-0 win in Town Creek on Friday.

Hazlewood controls ball on its way to second round of playoffs
Gaston next up for Golden Bears (11-0)

By Paul Stackhouse
sports@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

TOWN CREEK — There wasn't anything fancy about Hazlewood High's 28-0 playoff victory over Appalachian on Friday night.

Hazlewood rolled up 312 yards of total offense with 253 coming on the ground. The Golden Bears' suffocating defense stood out again, limiting the Eagles (5-6) to 52 rushing yards and 20 more passing. Kennen Porter scored two touchdowns for Hazlewood.

Hazlewood (11-0) will face Gaston (8-3) on Friday night. Gaston beat Marion County 45-22.

"We kept the ball close to our chest today, but that's OK," Hazlewood coach Aaron Goode said.

"On offense, we felt like we would win the game by not making any mistakes and not making turnovers. We feel like if you are going to win a 1A football championship, you're going to have to run the ball."

In the first half, Appalachian's offense could get no closer than Hazlewood's 44. In the second half, the Eagles reached the Golden Bears' 28, but an intercepted pass halted any chance of Appalachian putting any points on the board.

"When everybody on our defense gets involved, it's gang-tackling for us," Hazlewood senior Keginald Harris said. "We forced them to make some turnovers, and we didn't let them make any big plays. You can say we made the plays we needed to on defense."

Harris, the quarterback for the Golden Bears, gave Hazlewood a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after scoring on a 10-yard run.

Carlos Holden made it 12-0 after intercepting an Appalachian pass and returning it 62 yards for a touchdown. Harris followed with a scoring pass to 6-foot-5 Chris Ricks for a 2-point conversion and a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Golden Bears rushed for two touchdowns in the second quarter to account for the rest of the scoring.

Keenen Porter scored both touchdowns on runs of 33 and 1 to make it 28-0.

Porter finished with 77 yards on eight rushes, while senior teammate D.J. Jones had 102 rushing yards on 17 carries.

"The key to our offense was our linemen blocking up front and way down the field, also," Jones said. "As for me, they would open the hole that I ran through, and then I would follow them blocking down the field. They made it easy for me. "On defense, we maintained our plays like we're supposed to and did everything right. I would say we did a pretty decent job of tackling them. We're going to have to do the same thing next week, also. This game should motivate us but we still need to do better and get better focused in practice. We're going to have to get better in practice to keep winning."

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