Hardaway 21, Columbus 7: Justin Crawford scores three TDs in Hawks' win

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerSeptember 7, 2013 

Hardaway High junior running back Justin Crawford rushed for over 100 yards and scored three touchdowns for the second straight week as the Hawks beat rival Columbus 21-7.

But Crawford still isn't satisfied.

"Last year against Northside, I had four or five touchdowns and rushed for over 300 yards," Crawford said. "I'd like to do that again."

Hardaway's offensive line opened sizable holes for Crawford. His speed and quickness did the rest.

"Our line is coming along well," Crawford said. "We have more to work on. We need more consistency to get even better."

Crawford's first touchdown was the most spectacular as it came when the teams were battling to draw first blood.

The Hawks took the opening kickoff and marched to the Blue Devils 7. On a fourth-down play, the snap trickled back to quarterback Blake Berry and the Hawks couldn't convert, losing the ball on downs.

The Devils gained 14 yards on their first two plays and faced a second-and-nine at their own 22. Quarterback Derrick James dropped back to pass and the ball headed in Crawford's direction.

"The coverage was there," Crawford said. "I was just in the right place at the right time. I saw it coming and the rest was just instinct."

After Hector Zamudio's extra point, Hardaway led 7-0 with 6:21 left in the opening quarter.

The slim lead held throughout the second quarter and deep into the third. Crawford gave Hardaway a little breathing room by scoring a pair of touchdowns only 2:29 apart. Crawford scored on an eight-yard run with 6:36 left in the third and on a 34-yard pass from Berry with 4:07 remaining.

The Devils missed a pair of field goals in the second quarter that could have cut the Hardaway lead to one point. Sophomore kicker Ryan Anderson missed from 43 and 39 yards out, the latter coming with only 10 seconds left before halftime.

After the Berry-to-Crawford touchdown pass, the kickoff went out of bounds. The second attempt went to Ivan Rome, who fielded it at his own 11 and scampered 89 yards for the Devils' only touchdown.

The stout Hardaway defense faced a stiff test late in the game when the Devils put together a 17-play drive that took them from their own 39 all the way to the Hardaway 14.

"That was the hardest thing, keeping them from scoring that touchdown," senior lineman Chris Masenburge said.

"We feel good about ourselves and the way we played, but we can always do better."

Friday at Kinnett

Hardaway 7 0 14 0--21

Columbus 0 0 7 0--7

First quarter

Hardaway--Justin Crawford 30 interception return (Hector Zamudio kick) 6:21

Third quarter

Hardaway--Crawford 8 run (Zamudio kick) 6:36

Hardaway--Crawford 34 pass from Blake Berry (Zamudio kick) 4:07

Columbus--Ivan Rome 89 kickoff return (Ryan Anderson kick) 3:57

Records: Hardaway 2-0, Columbus 0-2. Next: Hardaway, vs. Shaw, at Kinnett, Thusrday, 7 p.m.; Columbus, vs. Northside, at Kinnett, Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.

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