Ray Weeks knows close isn”t going to cut it.
But in week three against an opponent in a higher classification, the Hamilton High School football coach can live with a hard-fought 34-20 loss to Class 3A Kossuth.
The Lions (2-1) can make it easier for their coach to deal with the defeat if they apply the lessons learned from that game at 7:30 tonight against Monroe County rival Hatley.
“I thought we gave tremendous effort,” said Weeks, whose team was tied at 20 with less than four minutes remaining in the game. They had a lot more bodies than we did, and I don”t know if that took a toll on us because we had a chance to win it at the end.”
A fumble late in the fourth quarter led to the eventual game-winning score. An interception return for another score skewed the final score into a deceiving result that Weeks thought could have turned out differently.
Zarrat Sims had 191 yards passing and three touchdowns, while running back/wide receiver Quinshay Heard had 60- and 65-yard touchdown catches. Running back Deion Howard added to the fireworks with a 21-yard touchdown catch and a 47-yard run, but those missed opportunities will haunt Weeks.
“I think they understand we stood up and played toe to toe with one of the top 3A teams in the North,” said Weeks, whose team is in 2A. “If we don”t turn the ball over five times we win the game. If we play well we can play with anybody, as long as we play with that same effort.”
Weeks hopes to reap the rewards from the Kossuth game later in the season. He said he purposely scheduled a game against a quality 3A program to prepare his team for the rigors of a district that includes Eupora, East Webster, and Ackerman in what should be a closely contested race.
“Hopefully now we know what we have to do and that the difference between being great and good is that the great teams do the little things right,” Weeks said. “That”s what we”re trying to get across to kids and hopefully they understand that.”
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.