SEFFNER — If the opening play of the year is a portent to a team's fortunes, then Armwood could be gearing up for a special season
Hawks senior Talvin Bailey took the opening kickoff at the goal line and raced up the middle untouched before veering to the right sideline for a 100-yard touchdown.
On Armwood's first offensive series, Bailey caught a 27-yard pass from first-year quarterback Noah Johnson for a touchdown, and the rout was on. The Hawks scored on three of their first four possessions to defeat Cooper City 44-7 in a preseason matchup Friday.
"We hit that just perfect with the block and everything, just the way we do it in practice," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said of the opening kickoff.
"Any time you start a game like that, it's pretty good."
The Hawks' second possession, set up when Justin Manning recovered a fumble at the Cooper City 15, resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Sterling Hoffrichter.
Armwood added to the lead during the second quarter when Johnson hit Trevor Laurent on a quick slant and Laurent weaved his way through the secondary for a 19-yard touchdown.
That drive, the Hawks' fourth, started in Cooper City territory after Hyriam Frederick recovered a fumble at the 22.
Cooper City scored its only points late in the first half when a fumble gave it the ball at the Hawks 3.
Jarrett Morgan powered into the end zone on the next play.
Armwood's defense proved stingy throughout, though. The Hawks held Cooper City to 95 yards, and the Cowboys completed only 2 of 12 passes for 6 yards.
"The referee said to me, 'We've never seen a defensive line get off the ball that fast.' And we are that fast up front," Callahan said. "Our defense has always carried us here a little bit, and our offense catches up."
In the third quarter, Manning picked off a pass and returned it 15 yards for a score. Johnson (8-for-14 for 106 yards) later threw his third touchdown of the night, hitting Austin Gallon on a 15-yard fade.
Backup quarterback Darrian McNeal culminated the scoring by running 14 yards into the end zone with less than a minute to go.