It was home, sweet, home for Cloudland.
The ‘Landers slowly pulled away for a 44-8 Region 1-A victory over Hancock County on Thursday night at Orr Field. It was the first home game this season for the ‘Landers.
With the win, Cloudland improves to 3-1 overall and starts 1-0 in region play.
Cloudland’s offense struck quick against the Indians.
Connor Birchfield capped off a three-play drive with 20-yard touchdown on the game’s first drive. That score gave CHS a 6-0 lead in the opening two minutes.
After the ‘Landers defense forced a punt on the next drive, Birchfield, who saw a punt return for a touchdown wiped off the board after a penalty, scored his second touchdown of the night with a five-yard scamper into the endzone. Josh Blair added the two-point conversion.
A Malachi Benfield interception ended the next Hancock drive as CHS took a 14-0 advantage into the second quarter.
Neither team was able to get anything going over the next two drives. Blair booked on the board with a four-yard run, and Cloudland added the conversion when Benfield hit Dillon Johnson just past the midpoint of the quarter.
The Indians methodically marched down the field to end the half, but a Benfield interception in the end zone sent Cloudland to the locker room up 22-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, Hancock County embarked on a drive that lasted nearly eight minutes, but were unable to get on the board as the CHS defense held strong on fourth down.
Birchfield made quick work as he completed the hat trick with a 25-yard touchdown. Cloudland added a Jordan Coffey touchdown late in the third quarter to take a 36-0 advantage into the fourth.
Hancock broke onto the board midway through the fourth with a 64-yard touchdown run by Darren Collins. Cloudland, however, answered on the ensuing drive as Coffey raced 73 yards for the score to wrap up the night’s scoring.
Coffey finished with 159 yards on nine carries. Birchfield had an impressive stat line as he tallied four carries for 62 yards and three touchdowns. Blair had 74 yards rushing.
Benfield ended the game 4-of-7 passing for 85 yards.
Cloudland is set to return to action next Friday as Happy Valley will make the short trip to Orr Field.
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