By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
CUMBERLAND – In Friday night’s key Region 2-2A matchup, Hamilton was able to capture a bit of history against host East Webster. And the Lions did it in fine fashion.
Hamilton used a 28-point third quarter to roll past East Webster 52-7 to clinch the school’s first home playoff game since 2001.
The Lions (9-1 overall, 4-0 region) can clinch the region title with a win against Ackerman on Friday.
“It means a lot for us,” said Hamilton head coach Ray Weeks. “It means a lot to our team and our community to host a playoff game for the first time in 10 years. So yeah, it means a whole lot.”
Hamilton rallied around a ground game that produced 338 yards on the night and had several guys get involved. Junior quarterback Zarrat Sims rushed for 106 yards and one touchdown while Quinshay Howard added 78 yards rushing and a score.
Not to be outdone, Cojuante McMillian rushed for two TDs and Deion Howard added 52 yards and a score.
“We do and it’s hard to defend,” said Weeks. “We have a quarterback that can go and two good running backs and a good fullback. So it puts a lot of pressure on defense cause any four of them can go to the house at any time.”
Hamilton led only 17-7 at the break but opened the second half on fire. Heard returned the opening kickoff 52 yards and set the Lions up first-and-goal at the East Webster 3.
McMillian did the rest with his first touchdown of the night and the Lions never looked back.
“We talked about that at halftime and coming out and taking the first offensive possession for a score,” said Weeks. “But then we nearly took the kickoff back for a touchdown. It gave us some momentum and took the wind out of their sails a little bit.”
The Lions’ defense limited East Webster to just 101 yards. The Wolverines’ lone score of the night came on Marques Reives’ 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the opening quarter. But the Lions would score 45 unanswered points after that.
“Our coach wants us to be the best, so we played like the best tonight,” said Sims. “I have never hosted a playoff game and this will be the first time for all of us. So we want to make the best of it.”