By Kedrick Storey
FALKNER – High school football coaches will tell you they’ll take a ugly win over a pretty loss anytime.
That was the case for the Falkner Eagles on Thursday night, as they overcame six turnovers and three defensive touchdowns by the visiting Hamilton Lions to win 32-27 in the Division 1-1A showdown. Falkner improved to 2-2 (1-0), while Hamilton dropped to 3-2 (1-1).
“I’ll take it,” said Falkner coach Corey Armstrong. “It’s a game like I’ve never been a part of. The defense played lights out all night. The offense would get a big play and then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.”
When the Falkner offense was productive, they totaled 310 yards – 256 rushing – led by running back Jeramie Lawrence and quarterback Jase Stroupe. Lawrence finished with 180 yards on 26 carries and three rushing scores. He also hauled in a 20-yard TD pass from Stroupe in the second quarter for a 7-6 lead. Stroupe ran for 93 yards.
The Falkner defense, which recorded a pair of safeties, held Hamilton to 2 total yards, but the Lions were still within a score of taking the lead the entire night thanks to a defense that produced 21 points. Falkner’s Stroupe threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns – a second-quarter 52-yard return by Michael Roberts and a 56-yard return by Cole Williams to give Hamilton a brief 20-14 lead with less than nine minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Lions best offensive drive of the night was a 56-yard TD run by Keyshon Heard on the first play of their second possession of the third quarter.
“I’ve got four starters out on offense and (Falkner) was doing some things that were causing us problems,” said Hamilton coach Ray Weeks.
“We have some work to do, but our defense stepped up and kept us in the game.”