NELSONVILLE — The Hocking College Hawks pieced together another strong defensive performance, leading to a 33-7 victory over Gordon State on Saturday at Nelsonville-York High School.

The Hawks produced a safety, and a defensive touchdown in earning the home victory.

Hocking College improves to 3-2 overall with the win.

Defense has been the name of the game for the Hawks, as they are giving up 10.8 points per contest. That is good for fifth in the country in the NJCAA Division I rankings.

The Hawks are also third in the country in yards allowed per game (184.8), second in rushing yards per game (34.2), second in interceptions (10), first in fumble recoveries (13), fourth in total sacks (21) and tied for first with five defensive touchdowns.

Hocking College added to most of those totals against Gordon State, ending a two-game losing streak.

The Hawks led 3-0 after Jeri Valesquez’s 20-yard field goal.

Hocking College’s defense struck from there, with Shaun Myers sacking the quarterback in the end zone for a safety, and a 5-0 lead.

That lead quickly went to 12-0 when Izayah Aekins returned the free kick 74 yards for a touchdown.

Gordon State’s only score came on a 41-yard touchdown toss in the second quarter to briefly cut the lead to 12-7.

The Hawks had an answer, with Brayden O’Dell catching a touchdown pass from Alex Short for a 19-7 halftime lead.

The Hawks went ahead 26-7 in the third quarter on their fifth defensive touchdown of the season. Josiah Price intercepted a pass and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown.

Short capped off the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, with Caden Cox drilling the successful extra point.

The Hawks had 236 yards of total offense. Gordon State was held to 153 yards of offense, with 170 coming through the air.

Hocking College stifled Gordon State’s rushing game with negative-17 yards on 16 carries.

Short completed 15 of 24 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

O’Dell caught four passes for 68 yards to lead Hocking College, with Kalos Farrier adding three receptions for 49 yards. Deshawn Hamilton had three catches for 27 yards and Ni-Keese Hodges-Demery had three catches for 24 yards.

Hamilton was also the Hawks’ leading rusher with 29 yards on seven carries.

The Hawks are again at home on Saturday, hosing ALN Sports Academy at 1 p.m. at Nelsonville-York’s Boston Field.

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