By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
HOUSTON – The Hamilton Lions spoiled homecoming for Houston at the last second.
Class 2A Hamilton held its own against the Class 4A Hilltoppers, blocking a field goal at the end to preserve a 28-26 victory Friday night.
“This was a great high school football game,” said Hamilton coach Ray Weeks. “They’d make a run and we would come back, but at the end of the game we made the final play.”
The visiting Lions (4-1) stopped Houston as it tried to make a 30-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the game. Jeremy Lindsey got a hand on Emmitt Dendy’s kick and batted it away.
The field goal was well within Dendy’s range, but the snap appeared to be off just a little, and the ball was kicked low.
“We should have won,” said Houston coach Donny Rogers. “Those country boys from Hamilton kicked our butts.”
Houston (3-2) scored first on a 30-yard field goal by Dendy and followed it up on its next possession with a 49-yard drive and running back Kantrell Murry scoring his first touchdown. Houston led 10-0.
Hamilton’s Dion Howard got the Lions back in the game with a 56-yard kickoff return, and quarterback Zarrat Sims ran 8 yards to make it 10-7.
The Lions again used the speed of Sims, who raced 57 yards for the score just before the end of the first quarter and Hamilton took the lead 14-10.
Houston regained the lead on a 48-yard drive, and QB Sharone Wright scored from the 1.
A snap over the head of the Hamilton punter led to a safety, and Houston led 19-14.
But Hamilton pushed 71 yards on nine plays to score and led 21-19 just before the half.
Back and forth
Houston scored first in the third quarter with Murry scoring from 4 yards out. The score was 26-21 in Houston’s favor at the 7:16 mark in the third quarter.
The Lions pounced on a Houston fumble and drove 70 yards to score the decisive TD.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team,” Weeks said. “We brought 26 guys over here and beat a good team.”