ESSEX JUNCTION — The 6-1 Hartford Hurricanes took a 12-7 halftime lead and then held on to beat the 1-6 Essex Hornets 12-7 on Friday night on the Essex Field.
Hartford scored first, taking the games opening kickoff and marching 75 yards in 11 plays. Fullback Hunter Perkins led the drive, contributing a 28 yard burst before punching in 6 yard touchdown run for an early 6-0 Hurricanes lead. The try for two points failed.
On the ensuing kickoff Essex senior Grady Corkum faked a reserve to Jordan Hines and took the ball down the right side, racing 75 yards to the Hartford 16. Six plays later Essex quarterback Cam Quinn connected with wideout Chris LaBonte of a five yard TD pass and Hines booted the extra point for a 7-6 Essex lead.
Hartford fumbled the ball away to Essex on their next possession, giving the home team a first down at the Hurricanes 32. But the threat ended when Hartford’s Tyler Hamilton intercepted Quinn at the 10.
The score stayed 7-6 into the later stages on the second half when Hartford’s Nick Porter picked off a Quinn pass, giving the ‘Canes a first down at their own 43. Hartford took it from there, with quarterback Hamilton hitting Porter on a slant over the middle for a 20 yard touchdown and a 12-7 lead that carried over to halftime.
The second half was a defensive struggle and it was the Hartford defense that came up with the biggest stop. In the fourth quarter a Corkum punt return set up the Hornets at the Hartford 22. Quinn connected with Hines to take it to the two, but on fourth and one Hartford stuffed Jack Carney at the three to end the threat, with the ‘Canes then holding on for the win.
Hartford advances to the playoffs at 7-1. Essex goes into a consolation round game at 1-7.