Haslet Eaton running back Jahbez Hawkins rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles remained undefeated in District 5-6A play by downing Fossil Ridge 15-7 on Thursday night at Keller ISD Stadium.
“I came out to do my thing,” said Hawkins who carried 25 times. “I wanted 200 yards and to get two touchdowns and I did my thing. I got to my goal and we came out here to play.”
While Hawkins and the Eaton offense was keeping the ball away from Fossil Ridge, the Eagles’ defense was rock solid.
Eaton (4-1, 2-0 District 5-6A) didn’t allow an offensive touchdown and held the Panthers to 197 total yards. In eight possessions, Fossil Ridge (1-4, 1-1) punted five times, missed a field goal, had a field goal blocked and lost the ball on downs.
“Our defense is good,” said Eaton coach Ellis Miller. “Last year I thought that we were one of the better defenses around and right now they’re really playing. The D-line is pretty nasty, we have a great secondary, and the linebackers are fitting like they’re supposed to fit and we fly around and make plays.”
Miller praised both cornerbacks, Kaleno Levine and Gideon Filer. But added that the reason Levine and Filer had such good nights was because of his defensive line and linebackers including Eric Sharpe, Grant Koehler, Cyril Etim, Caden Gillespie, Jayden Gray, and Evan Sharpe who put pressure on Fossil Ridge all night.
Six of Fossil Ridge’s 17 completions went for zero or negative yardage.
Eaton took the opening kick and drove 77 yards in seven plays to take a quick 6-0 lead. Hawkins picked up 52 rushing yards on the drive, including the final 44 as he darted up the middle for the score.
The Eagles pushed the lead to 9-0 when Dakota Lamb hit a 33-yard field goal with 6:23 left in the second quarter.
Fossil Ridge’s best drive opened the second half and lasted 15 plays. It started at the Panthers’ 23, but stalled at the Eaton 20 where a 37-yard field goal try was blocked by the Eagles’ Oscar Moore to end the threat with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
Running back Colione Evans led Fossil Ridge with 108 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Hawkins’ second TD was controversial, but spectacular.
The junior was spun around after a 5-yard gain and looked to be down, but put his hand down and kept his balance. Hawkins wasn’t ruled down and the defense relaxed allowing him to take advantage and race 73 yards for a score.
It gave Eaton a 15-0 lead to start the fourth quarter.
“He is very shifty, has great balance, and is pretty fast,” Miller said of Hawkins, who personally out gained the entire Fossil Ridge team by 26 yards. “He’s a very tough kid and played really hard.”
Eaton attempted to ice the game with 2:24 left, but a 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. The ball was picked up in stride by the Panthers’ Elijah Jennings who carried it 74 yards for Fossil Ridge’s only score.
The Panthers followed by attempting an onside kick, which they recovered, but were flagged for being offside. Eaton’s Jalen Thompson recovered the ensuing onside kick to allow Eaton to run out the clock.
“We didn’t want to have any turnovers and wanted to keep pushing the ball down the field,” said Hawkins. “My offensive line did great, like they always do. They finished their blocks, protected me, and opened holes for me so I could get through.”