SEFFNER — Armwood (11-0) outlasted Venice at Lyle Flagg Field on Friday night, notching a Class 6A region quarterfinal victory.
After trailing at halftime, all three phases contributed to the Hawks’ win. Armwood forced a three-and-out on Venice’s opening second-half drive. After Armwood went 57 yards, taking the lead with Trevor Laurent scoring on a 5-yard run, the special teams made a big play. A Sterling Hofrichter spinning punt that bounced off a Venice helmet provided the turning point. Kyle Gibson recovered at the Venice 4-yard line. Quarterback Noah Johnson ran in on the next play, and Venice couldn’t get any closer than five points the rest of the way.
Both offenses came roaring out of the gate. After Armwood drove 87 yards in five plays with Johnson rushing in from 12 yards out, Venice took the ball 80 yards, with Terry Polk running 59 yards untouched.
Laurent sparked the Hawks after halftime with his scoring run and three receptions for 41 yards. He added the decisive blow, returning the Indians’ onside kick 54 yards for a touchdown after the lead had been cut to five.
Johnson hurt Venice with his arm and legs. He rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries while throwing for 119 yards.
Junior linebacker Jordan Griffin had 12 tackles and a pass batted down, leading his Hawks defense in limiting Polk to 24 yards with the exception of his long touchdown run.
“All week we were focusing on shutting him down. We game-planned around him this week … to shut him down. For the most part we had success with that,” Griffin said.
Armwood coach Sean Callahan expected a tough matchup and got it. “It was A good football game. Two good teams. (They are) well-coached.”
According to Callahan the key to an offense that rolled up 280 yards was aggressive play-calling. “Our passing game opens up our running game. We need to do that more often and trust in that.”
Venice 7 3 0 9 — 19
Armwood 7 0 14 10 — 31
A– Johnson 12 run (Hofrichter kick)
V–Polk 59 run (Wilson kick)
V–FG Wilson 42
A–Laurent 5 run (Hofrichter kick)
A–Johnson 4 run (Hofrichter kick)
V–FG Wilson 35
A–FG Hofrichter 39
V–MacKenzie 25 pass from Marino (pass failed)
A–Laurent 54 kickoff return (Hofrichter kick)