By CURT HORNBECKER
11:03 PM EDT, September 30, 2011
Dave Mahaffey couldn’t have asked for a better start to a brutal stretch for his Hancock football team.
Mahaffey’s Panthers recorded their first win of the season, staving off several Sidwell Friends scoring opportunities late in the game for a 21-20 victory to begin a string of three games in eight days.
The Quakers had the ball in the red zone twice in the fourth period, and each time Hancock’s defense stepped up to stop them.
Garrett Wiles made sure the first attempt failed by intercepting a Jackson Mills pass in the end zone.
After a poor Hancock punt gave the Quakers possession on the Hancock 37-yard line, Vinnie Foreman recovered a Kameron Mitchell fumble, and the Panthers were able to run out the clock.
“I’m very proud of our defense for sucking it up, with that many stops (in the red zone) with the game on the line,” said Mahaffey.
Hancock (1-3) drew first blood in the first period when Wiles brought down Mitchell in his own end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead.
“It’s something we practice,” said Mahaffey of the safety. “That’s our third safety this year. We were fired up coming into the game, but that took us to another level.”
The Panthers wasted little time extending the lead. After Jamie Martin recovered a Mills fumble at the Sidwell Friends 37, Wiles found freshman Jesse Wolford for a 34-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the series.
After the Quakers (2-2) responded with a 1-yard Isaiah Davis TD run, Wolford gave Hancock a 15-6 lead with a 64-yard scoring run.
Another freshman, Noah Teeter, finished the first-half scoring by returning a Mills fumble 10 yards for a 21-6 advantage.
Sidwell Friends closed within a point thanks to a pair of touchdowns in the third period — a 44-yard pass from Mills to Gerald Wagner, and an 11-yard jaunt by Davis.
Mahaffey couldn’t have been more pleased with the win.
“The first two weeks we didn’t play disciplined football,” said Mahaffey. “Tonight we played disciplined football and stopped their key plays. The kids really showed the heart and character this team has. They made plays when they needed to make plays.”
Hancock 21, Sidwell Friends 20
Sidwell Friends 0 6 14 0 — 20
Hancock 8 13 0 0 — 21
H—Safety, Garrett Wiles tackled Kameron Mitchell in end zone
H—Jesse Wolford 34 pass from Garrett Wiles (kick failed)
SF—Isaiah Davis 1 run (pass failed)
H—Jesse Wolford 64 run (Tyler Cheng kick)
H—Noah Teeter 10 fumble return (kick failed)
SF—Gerald Wagner 44 pass from Jackson Mills (run failed)
SF—Davis 11 run (Diamente Holloway pass from Mills)