Round 1 | Stockton vs Salt Fork
The high octane Stockton Blackhawks played host to Salt Fork in their 1st round Class 1A State Playoff matchup Saturday. The Blackhawks entered the game with their perfect 9-0 record, while Salt Fork came in with 5-4 record.
Salt Fork wasted no time showing how physical they were going to play as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead. The Blackhawks would respond in the 2nd quarter with 2 scores of their own, the last one coming with just over 2 minutes remaining in the half to tie the game at 14 at the half.
In the second half the Storm would take advantage of their 1st drive as they hit pay dirt again to give them a 21-14 lead. Stockton would repsond with a nice long drive of their own inside the Salt Fork 5 yard line. However, with 1st and goal at the 5 the Blackhawks couldn't punch it in on 4 consecutive plays and turned the ball over on downs at the 2 yard line. Salt Fork would take full advantage. With just under 10 minutes to go in the game the Storm would reach the end zone again in a crazy 4th quarter to extend their lead to 29-14.
The Blackhawk air attack took off behind Hayden Fox as they answered less than a minute later to make the game 29-20. Choosing to go for 2 rather then settle for one, the Blackhawks missed leaving them 2 scores down. This would be a difference maker in the final score. On the next drive Salt Fork would score again, going up 36-20, choosing to go for one and keep it a 2 score game. Stockton charged back with another TD drive to bring it to 36-26 with just under 6 minutes left in the game.
Stockton would get the onside kick and drive the field again. This time the 2 point try was good and the Salt Fork was up 36-34 with just under a minute to go. Stockton attempted another onside kick, but hard luck struck as Salt Fork returned the onside kick for a TD. The extra point was good and Salt Fork led 43-34 with 33 seconds left in the game.
Stockton would get the ball again and Fox hit Gavin Krahmer in the end zone. The 2 point try was successful again to make the score 43-42. Stockton would onside kick again, but Salt Fork recovered and ran out the clock. The 2 missed 2 point tries would come back to haunt the Blackhawks as that proved crucial in a 4th quarter that saw both teams combine for 50 points as Stockton out scored the Storm 28-22 in the 4th quarter.
Stockton ends their season at 9-1, with a disappointing 1st round loss in a season full of promise. Look for the Blackhawks to challenge for the conference title next season in the Upstate Division.