By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
SMITHVILLE – Drew Lann’s performance with his arm and on the ground broke up a close game in the second half as his Smithville Seminoles would score three touchdowns in the second half to take a 21-12 win over county rival Hamilton.
“Credit this win to our offseason program,” Smithville coach Bubba Tacker said. “These guys were up here every day at six in the morning, and I attribute them coming out that way in the second half to that.”
Turnovers and missed opportunities kept things scoreless until there were just 21 seconds to go in the first half.
Seth Dement’s long punt after Hamilton’s first drive of the game pinned the Seminoles at their own 4. Turner Sanderson’s 6-yard run and Tristan Hawkins’ 3-yard run gave Smithville some breathing room before Sanderson fumbled to give the Lions the ball at the Noles’ 5.
Smithville defense held strong on the ensuing drive, allowing just three yards from the Lions and Turner Sanderson tackling Heard just shy of the goal line.
Hamilton’s first turnover of the game came four possessions later, when Cole Richardson caught an eight-yard pass from Heard at midfield and fumbled. A Smithville fumble led to Heard connecting with Howard for a 33-yard touchdown pass to give Hamilton the 6-0 lead with 21 seconds to go in the half after a failed kick.
Smithville held a 12-6 lead by the end of the third quarter as Lann hooked up with Tyler Hood for two touchdowns – on passes of 28 and 44 yards.
“We knew we had to work our hearts out,” Smithville senior J.T. Pitts said of the second half. “We knew we had to score to win, and that was our motivation.”
Hamilton came back to tie the game up on its next possession, a three-minute scoring drive that ended with Heard’s 3-yard scamper into the endzone.
Smithville answered with a six-play, four-minute touchdown drive to take the lead for good, capped by Lann’s three-yard scoring run. Kyle Knight kicked the first extra point of the game to put the Seminoles up 19-12 with five minutes to go. Smithville added a late safety.
“We had two many penalties and too many mistakes,” Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said. “Their kids just played really hard. They came to play ball.”