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Hawthorne Grinds Out Victory, 32-3 : Prep football: South Torrance breakdowns on defense allow Cougars to control the ball in the second half.


Hawthorne High fumbled away two scoring chances in the first half Thursday night, but the Cougars made the most of their opportunities in the second half against South Torrance.

Hawthorne scored touchdowns on its first three second-half possessions--two on long, time-consuming drives--to pull away for a 32-3 nonleague victory at South.

Leading 14-3, Hawthorne (2-1) took the second-half kickoff and drove 69 yards in 18 plays to score on a one-yard sneak by quarterback Kenji Tatum. The series took nine minutes, seven seconds and set the tone for the rest of the game. South gained only 34 yards in 14 plays in the second half.

"That was the nightmare defensive series," said South co-coach Mike Christensen, whose team fell to 2-1. "We played great defense, and then we did some dumb things."

The Spartans twice forced Hawthorne into punting situations on the first series of the second half, but each time they let the Cougars off the hook.

Faced with fourth-and-five at the Hawthorne 36, Tatum completed an 11-yard pass from punt formation to wide receiver Monjero Jones.

Minutes later, Hawthorne lined up to punt on fourth-and-six at the South 37. An offsides penalty against South moved the ball to the 32, and Hawthorne got a first down on a four-yard sneak by Tatum. Seven plays later, the Cougars scored.

"Before the game, I knew we couldn't make the mistakes," Christensen said. "We had to let (Hawthorne) make the mistakes."

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