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On Homecoming day while honoring two anniversaries for national championship teams, Georgetown College's football team defeated its third straight ranked opponent. The No. 7 Tigers (3-0) needed all three of its first half scores to weather a late rally by No. 18 Shorter University (2-1), 21-14.
"Today, with our 1991 and 2001 national championship teams in attendance, it was nice to have a win to celebrate as well," said GC coach Bill Cronin, who was an assistant with the 1991 team and head coach of the 2001 team. "Shorter is probably the toughest team we've played this season, and when we needed plays we came up with them. Again, I was very impressed with the play of our defense. Despite spending a lot of time on the field in the second half, they were coming up with the stops."
Georgetown's defense was three seconds shy of 16 minutes of action in the second half alone. One Shorter drive in the fourth quarter ate up more than half of that, 8:38. Despite the Hawks methodical movement down field that possession - starting at their own 35 - no points were scored as the series resulted in a turnover on downs inside the Tigers' 10-yard line.
SU converted two fourth downs on that drive, but once inside the Tiger 15, GC's defense stood tall.
The Tigers once again stopped an opponent's strength. In two games, Shorter averaged 480 yards on the ground, but managed just 211 Saturday at Toyota Stadium. The Hawks were averaging just more than five scores per game at 35.5 points, but managed just two against GC.
"Coach (Shan) Housekeeper and our defensive coaches are doing a great job in preparing our guys and when we need them they deliver. We saw that in our opener when Ottawa was deep in our territory several times and couldn't convert," Cronin said. "Then this past weekend took over the game with three straight series of interceptions to stall a prolific scoring Cumberlands team."
The Hawks did manage to find the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Cory Thacker caught a Gary Tiller pass for the 10-yard score with 1:15 remaining. At that point it was too little, too late as they simply ran out of time when Chris Gohman recovered the onside kick.
Georgetown broke the game open with a pair of scores in the first quarter. Kaelin Ammons hit Chris Gohman for a 79-yard touchdown on the Tigers' second offensive series. GC then closed the first 15 with an eight-play, 90-yard drive that was capped by a Jesse Gillham four-yard touchdown run.
"We were able to do things both through the air and on the ground in that first half," Cronin said.
Ammons, however, re-injured his knee originally banged up in the second quarter of this past Saturday's win over Cumberlands. The senior signal caller did not return after leaving late in the second quarter against Shorter.
Ammons went 8-of-15 for 167 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Smyth was 4-of-9 for 40 yards and one interception.
The Hawks scored their lone first half touchdown off the Ammons' pick. GC's defense had another one of its goal-line stances, keeping SU out of the end zone despite being inside the Tigers' 10. Shorter tried three straight hand-offs to C.J. Scott and then a fourth down give to Kenny Foster, but GC held strong.
The first play under center, though, Ammons threw a pass up for the 6-foot-5 Rashad Mason that sailed out of his reach to the waiting defender Michael Peeples. He returned it 12 yards for a 14-7 game.
"It's always tough playing three straight ranked opponents, but we've found ways to win," Cronin said. "Now we have to go into our divisional schedule and keep things moving in the right direction."
Georgetown travels to Kentucky Christian (1-3) for a 1:30 pm kickoff Saturday.