Lions’ early edge slips away

Football stockBy Melissa Meador

Monroe Journal

HAMILTON – For the second week in a row, Hamilton built up an early lead and saw it trickle away in the fourth quarter.

This week, the Lions (9-4) were unable to hold on, with St. Aloysius rallying in the final minutes for a 13-12 second-round Class 1A playoff win.

St. Aloysius moves on to face another Monroe County school, hosting Smithville in the North finals next week.

“Turnovers got us in this one. We had the ball and had the momentum late in the game and turned it over a couple of times,” Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said. “We played hard but just didn’t execute in the second half. It was a tale of two halves.”

In the first quarter, Quinshay Heard wasted no time getting the Lions on the board, busting loose for a 76-yard scoring run on the second play from scrimmage.

The Lions’ defense came up with several key stops in the first half. On St. Aloysius’ second drive of the game, the Flashes faked a field goal, and Hamilton made the fourth-down stop. Tanner Dement stopped a St. Aloysius scoring threat with a pick of QB Connor Smith at the Hamilton 11.

Heard came up with a pick of his own midway through the second quarter, three plays after the second touchdown of the night, this one for 67 yards, gave the Lions a 12-0 lead.

Douglas Busari’s 4-yard TD run put St. Aloysius on the board to start the third quarter and cut the lead to 12-7.

Big kicks

Hamilton came up with a pair of fourth-down stops but Blake Hudson’s 35-yard field goal with 8 minutes to go made it a two-point game. Another field goal from Hudson put St. Aloysius on top with a 13-12 lead with 2:30 left.

Keshon Heard returned the ensuing kickoff to the Flashes’ 27-yard line to put the Lions in good field position, but the St. Aloysius defense held them to a 34-yard field goal try from Maxi Garcette that was wide right.

“The big bodies started weighing on us after a while, and that started taking over in the second half,” Weeks said. “It just came down to two or three plays. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

melissa.meador@journalinc.com