KILN — Twenty three years ago, Hancock High started the football season 8-0 before losing its first game of the season.
Friday night, the home-standing Hawks were trying to go 8-0 for the first time since that 2000 campaign, but upset-minded George County had other ideas.
The visiting Rebels jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and led 21-3 at the half before holding off Hancock in the second half for a thrilling 28-26 win in Region 4-6A play here at Brett Favre Field.
The huge two-point league decision leaves George County at 6-2 overall, but more importantly 2-0 in the region race while Hancock drops to 7-1 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The Rebels took the opening kickoff and went 78 yards in five plays capped off by a 4-yard run from Jacobe Street to lead 7-0 just one minute and 30 seconds into the contest.
Following a Donte Taylor interception by the Hawks, Kohl Bradley picked off Dylan Moran’s pass and took it 84 yards for the pick six and the Rebels were up 14-0.
Deuce Knight’s 36-yard TD run with 7:59 remaining in the first half gave the Rebels their biggest lead of the night at 21-0.
At that point, the Hawks began their comeback bid.
The Hawks got a Sam Powell 37-yard FG with 3:29 remaining before halftime and the Rebels missed a field goal in the final seconds sending the teams to the locker room with the Rebels leading 21-3.
The Hawks took the second half kickoff and Moran hit Neil Acker with a 36-yard scoring strike and the Hawk rally continued. Zach Gullang’s halfback pass to a wide-open Acker from 39 yards out on the next possession made it 21-17 with 8:53 to go in the third frame.
The Rebels fumbled the kickoff and the Hawks drive got them inside the 10 but on fourth and goal from the GCHS four yard-line Moran’s pass intended for Jeffrey Hopgood fell incomplete and the Rebels took over.
George County capped off a 96-yard drive with Street’s second touchdown of the night from 25 yards out and the Rebels led 28-17 heading into the fourtth quarter.
George County punter GageReeves took an intentional safety with 5:21 left and following the free kick Hancock scored on a Gullung 1-yard plunge to cut the score to 28-26 with 2:24 remaining.
The Rebels recovered the onside kick and after the Rebels picked up one first down and then they made it interesting by fumbling in the backfield but after a mad scramble GCHS recovered and was able to run out the clock.
Street led the way for the Rebels with 18 carries for 109 yards and the two touchdowns. Knight was 10-for-20 for 132 yards with the rushing score.
Moran completed just 9-of-27 attempts for 99 yards with a touchdown and a pair of key interceptions including the pick six by Bradley . Gullang finished with 108 yards on the ground on 26 carries and had both a rushing and passing touchdown. Acker finished the night with five catches for 96 yards and both scoring receptions.
In addition to Bradley’s big pickoff, Marlin Odom recorded his sixth interception of the season for the Rebels including one last week that he took back 100 yards for a score in a region-opening win over Long Beach.
The Rebels improve host West Harrison for Homecoming next week while Hancock travels to Pascagoula for a big matchup with the Panthers who also sit at 1-1 in the region race after a close win over those Bearcats Friday night.