Hawkinsville capitalizes on Irwin County miscues to win Class A-Public title

Photo by Craig Sager II

Warren Singletary scored both of Hawkinsville’s touchdowns and clinched the victory with a fumble recovery as the Red Devils beat Irwin County 15-6 to win the Class A-Public state championship at the Georgia Dome on Friday afternoon.

The game started inauspiciously for Hawkinsville (13-1), which went into the final on a five-game winning streak in the aftermath of its only loss of the season to Marion County. Its offense failed to move the ball early and Irwin got on the scoreboard first when Jakyron Young ran in a 13-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the first quarter. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Indians in front 6-0.

Hawkinsville answered with four minutes left in the second quarter, when Singletary found the endzone from four yards away. Although most of the game’s special teams troubles came from Irwin County, the Red Devils had a few problems of their own and missed the extra point wide right to keep the score tied at 6-6.

Momentum was quick to side with Hawkinsville in the second half. An opening squib-quick was bobbled by Irwin County’s Cartavion Benyard, who collected it, retreated into the endzone trying to avoid tacklers and was eventually taken down by Matthew Money for a safety.

The third quarter only went downhill from there for the Indians, now trailing 8-6. Their ensuing four possessions resulted in a snap over the punter’s head, a fumble, an interception (picked off by Cal George of the Red Devils) and another fumble. Irwin County’s borderline impenetrable defense managed to keep the contest competitive, but Hawkinsville finally capitalized on the turnovers when Singletary scored on a one-yard run to put his team ahead 15-6.

Irwin County’s final fumble was the nail in the coffin. Singletary recovered it from his linebacker position with the Red Devils still up by two possessions and just 5:31 remaining on the clock.

“In championship games like this one, things happen,” Hawkinsville head coach David Daniell explained. “I told the kids beforehand that it was going to come down to which team turns the ball over the least.”

The Red Devils lost three fumbles, but they forced five Irwin County fumbles and recovered three in addition to George’s interception.

Hawkinsville’s senior class, including Singletary and George, helped turn around a program that endured a four-win season just two years ago. Now the Red Devils have a sixth state championship in the bag—and first since they went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.

“You gotta give it to these seniors,” Daniell concluded. “They are just a great group of kids. They’ve bought in to what we try to do. They’re leaders. They’re coaches on the field; we can make adjustments because of them. I gotta give all the credit to the kids…. Our community, I know they’re excited. We’re excited. It’s just a great time to be a Red Devil.”


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