By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HAMILTON – After losing quarterback Quinshay Heard with a separated shoulder last week, Hamilton’s offense showed it wasn’t going to be slowed against county rival Hatley.
Cranking up the running game under Deion Howard turned out to be the key on Friday night, as the senior rushed for 323 yards on 14 carries and four TDs in the Lions’ 52-8 win over Hatley.
“I knew I had to really show up since our quarterback got hurt,” Howard said. “Our line did a great job of blocking for me tonight, and that allowed me to have some big runs.”
Hamilton (2-2) carried a 31-0 lead into halftime on two of Howard’s scoring runs. Junior back Pallas Fair added a 24-yard scoring run of his own, and senior QB Seth Dement, in a second week as Heard’s replacement, got into the scoring as well, hooking up with Cole Richardson for a 27-yard touchdown.
“I thought they might have a hard time tackling Deion, so that’s why we made sure to feed it to him often,” Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said. “Working with Seth, he brings some different things to the table, so we went with a play-action game. That allowed Deion to make some great runs.”
Hatley (0-4) got on the board first in the second half with a four-minute, nine-play drive that ended on junior quarterback Jordan Metcalf’s one-yard keeper. Metcalf would hook up with Derrick Hampton on the two-point conversion pass.
Hamilton dominated from there behind Howard’s scoring runs of 82 and 37 yards. The Lions would add a safety late in the third quarter.
Hard to handle
“We didn’t execute and didn’t do the things we worked very well at in practice,” Hatley head coach Marty Warren said. “Their kids are too good not to go out there and tackle them. He (Howard) runs too hard, and we had trouble getting a hand on him.”
Weeks said he was pleased with Dement’s performance in his second week as a starter.
“He and Cole (Richardson, a senior wide receiver) are going to be a great combination. They’re really clicking there, and that’s going to be something that will help us out down the road,” Weeks said.