Region play began last Friday, Sept. 4, as the Daleville Warhawks (0-3, 0-1) fell to Class 3A, Region 2 foe Houston Academy Raiders (2-1, 1-0) by a score of 45-20.
For the third consecutive game, Daleville gave up more than 40 points but did finally manage to score its first points of the season, as well.
After starting a with quick three-and-out on offense, the Warhawks gave up a 27-yard touchdown run as the Raiders went up 7-0 with 6:55 left in the first quarter.
After a Daleville fumble, the Raiders extended their lead to 10-0 with 3:26 left in the opening period after a 31-yard field goal.
Penalties faltered Daleville’s next drive, as the second quarter began, and Houston Academy extended the lead to 17-0 after a 4-yard touchdown run with 9:31 left in the first half.
Daleville had a solid drive going before the Warhawks coughed up another fumble. Houston Academy made them pay again as the Raiders added a 3-yad touchdown run with 2:26 left to go up 24-0.
The Warhawks finally broke their scoring drought as Speedy Wiley broke open on a 45-yard touchdown run with 2:04 remaining in the half. The two-point try failed, however, and the Warhawks trailed 24-6.
Houston Academy struck again as the Raiders extended the lead at halftime to 31-6 after a 10-yard touchdown run with 47 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
“I think the first half we were a little shell-shocked by Houston Academy’s size and physicality,” Daleville coach Desmond Lett said. “They’re very physical and a very well-coached football team. I think it took our kids by surprise at how physical they are.
“They looked big on film but we didn’t realize just how physical they were and we just couldn’t meet that physicality in the first half. I think we played much better in the second half but we can’t wait to get down by 30 points before we decide to play. We’re not good enough to wait until we’re down by 30 before we decide to play.”
Daleville forced a Raider fumble to open the second half but gave the ball right back to Houston Academy on the very next play with a fumble of their own.
Houston Academy scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:46 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 38-6.
The Warhawks answered, though, as Sincere McKenzie scored on a 12-yard touchdown run with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter. The two-point try failed and Houston Academy’s lead remained 38-12.
Houston Academy answered with a 9-play, 62-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:03 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 45-12.
Daleville was able to tack on one more score late as McKenzie scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to finish off an 8-play scoring drive. Cam Giles added a two-point conversion to make the final 45-20 in favor of the Raiders.
While the Warhawks struggled mightily on defense and with turnovers, Daleville did role up a season-high 255 yards rushing on just 39 attempts for an average of 6.5 yards per carry. Wiley led Daleville with 94 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, while McKenzie added 56 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. McKenzie also caught three passes for 23 yards and returned two kickoffs for 70 yards. McKenzie also had a punt return for eight yards.
Jordan McDonald completed 5-of-6 passing attempts for 36 yards and rushed for a season-high 45 yards on nine carries. Giles rushed for 30 yards and a two-point conversion on 11 attempts, while also catching a pass for eight yards.
“I feel like we were able to move the ball well at times and going into the future that helps us gain some confidence knowing we can run the ball,” Lett said. “Speedy and Sincere had pretty decent nights on the ground and I felt like that will boost their confidences, too. Also we have a really young offensive line, so for them to see that we’re able to move the ball that helps them know that when they do what they’re supposed to do good things can happen.”
The Warhawk defense was led by Giles with 13 tackles and one tackle-for-loss, while McDonald compiled nine tackles and a forced fumble. McKenzie recorded six tackles and a quarterback hurry, while Jeremiah Moore earned five tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a fumble recovery.
Houston Academy totaled 432 yards of offense compared to Daleville’s 291 yards, while the Warhawks gave up three turnovers and Houston Academy turned the ball over once. Daleville was also penalized 14 times compared to just four for Houston Academy.