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Hornets take third straight win

It was a happy homecoming Friday night at John Essex as the Hornets strung together their third consecutive win, topping Autaugaville 26-18.

“Attitude,” first year coach Lenoise Richey said of the biggest change his team has undergone during the school’s first three-game winning streak in more than three seasons. “You don’t know what it’s like to win until you win. They’ve got that taste. They’ve tasted winning and they like it.”

John Essex (3-4, 2-4 Region) dominated the visiting Eagles at every turn, allowing only 58 yards total offense on the heels of a stingy defense that piled on five quarterback sacks and tackles for loss while compiling up more than 350 yards of their own.

The Hornets drew first blood on their first drive with Korey Jones pouncing on a Hornet fumble in the end zone to take a 6-0 lead.

On the Hornets’ next possession, Letrelle Griffin hit A.J. Bennett on a 10-yard strike to jump out 12-0 in the first quarter.

The Eagles jumped on the board with six of their own as time expired in the first to cut the lead in half and a defensive struggle would ensue until the final seconds of the second quarter.

As time expired in the half, Griffin bolted for the end zone from three yards out to give the Hornets an 18-6 lead at the half with the John Essex defense holding the Eagles to -11 yards rushing in the first two quarters.

The third quarter opened much like the first, but this time Jamie Daniels found the end zone from six yards out. Griffin connected with J.J. Fluker for the two-point conversion, giving the Hornets the 26-6 lead.

But the Eagles wouldn’t go away quietly, finally breaking into positive yardage and rolling up 12 more points before time expired. Tony Hill picked off an errant pass with less than one minute left in the game to ice the win.

Bennett hauled in 116 yards on five catches. Griffin had 157 yards through the air and 73 yards on the ground. Daniels racked up 135 yards on the ground and 40 yards passing, finding gunner Bennett on fourth and long in punt formation.

The Hornets will host Linden Friday night.