SEFFNER — Sickles carried a two-point lead into the fourth quarter Friday night but Armwood's Rayshied Melvin scored a pair of touchdowns in the final six minutes as the Hawks held off the visiting Gryphons 22-9 in a game much closer than the scoreboard showed.
"Every state championship team I've had has had to overcome some adversity," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. "Our kids never quit fighting."
With Sickles trailing 7-3 Scott O'Donoghue, subbing for injured quarterback John Melvin Hendrick, engineered a drive to open the second half that had the Hawks defense reeling. O'Donoghue accounted for 36 yards on the ground before a gadget play had Gryphons fans thinking upset.
O'Donoghue handed off to tailback Cary White, who pitched it back to wideout Chris Nahat. It appeared Nahat would be stopped in the backfield, but he wiggled free and lofted a perfect 29-yard strike to Brieann Dollard for a touchdown and a 9-7 lead.
"Our guys laid it all on the line tonight," Sickles coach Pat O'Brien said. "I don't think they got the credit they deserved this season."
That lead held until Sickles punted from its 3-yard line and the short kick gave the Hawks (10-1) the ball on the Gryphons' 29 with just more than seven minutes to play.
The Hawks then scrapped their spread attack, running right at Sickles (8-3). Five plays later, Melvin scored from 2 yards for a lead Armwood didn't relinquish.
"I think we'd been outcoaching ourselves a little," Callahan said. "That drive we took it right to them."