Good Hope takes its third straight County Middle School Football Title

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GOOD HOPE – No Matt Dixon, no problem for the Good Hope Raiders. With Dixon unable to play in Monday's Cullman County middle school championship due to flu-like symptoms, his teammates picked up the slack in very impressive fashion.

 

Austin Knight rushed for 114 yards and scored three touchdowns to anchor a 28-14 victory over the Hanceville Bulldogs and their third consecutive Cullman County championship.

 

Knight delivered 58 yards on the ground on five carries and a touchdown in the third quarter to put the Raiders up 22-0 before Hanceville finally got some offense going.

 

But by the time the Bulldogs entered the end zone, time became a factor and the Raiders tacked on a touchdown in the fourth quarter to create breathing room

and go into the 2015 season with 21 consecutive victories and three championship trophies in the Good Hope trophy case.

 

Knight took it in from the four to end the first Good Hope drive of the night, covering 54 yards in 10 plays. The conversion from Preston Bagwell gave the Raiders an 8-0 lead. That's how the score stood when the first quarter ended.

 

From their 40, the Raiders took the ball into the Hanceville end zone late in the second period to extend the lead to 14-0. A 32-yard pass by Bagwell to Matthew Hancock set up Knight's second score, this one from the two.

 

The Raiders had 110 yards of offense when the game went to the half with 58 by the run and 52 from the air.

 

After the third touchdown by Knight to make it 22-0 in third quarter, Hanceville struck for a score on a 61-yard screen pass by Alex Campball to Romeal Simmons. The conversion run by RJ Evans closed the margin to 22-8 with a quarter left to play.

 

Good Hope sealed up the title by a 68-yard drive that took three and a half minutes off the final quarter. Bagwell ran it in from the two. The Raiders were up 28-8 as Knight finished the second half rushing for 84 yards on 10 carries.

 

Hanceville scored on the final play of the game when Campball and Simmons teamed up on a 9-yard pass.

 

Campball threw for 114 yards on seven completions with Simmons catching four throws for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Good Hope netted 13 first downs and tallied 209 yards of offense with 157 rushing. Hanceville accounted for 139 yards, 114 yards in throwing, but only 25 against a solid Raider defense.

 

Hanceville finishes 5-2 on the season, an improvement for Phillip Key's Bulldogs after they were 1-5 in 2013.

 

The victory for the Raiders comes two weeks after the Lady Raiders won the middle school volleyball title. They were recognized at halftime in front of a big crowd at James Shabel Stadium.