CUMBERLAND – The Hamilton Lions secured home field advantage in the first round of the Class 2A State Playoffs in impressive fashion Friday night routing East Webster 52-7 on the road.
The Lions improved to 9-1 on the year and remain unblemished in district play at 4-0.
“It means a lot for us, our community and our fans to host a playoff game for the first time in 10 years,” said Hamilton head coach Ray Weeks.
Hamilton gained 327 of its 361 total yards on the ground Friday night and had five different backs reach the end zone.
“It’s hard to defend because we’ve got a quarterback that can go, two good running backs and a fullback,” Weeks said. “It puts a lot of pressure on defenses because any of the four can go to the house at anytime.”
Quarterback Zarrat Sims led the way for the Lions rushing seven times for 106 yards and a touchdown.
“We want to play our best every Friday night,” Sims said. “Our coaches want us to be the best so we play like we’re the best.”
Austin Welch completed Hamilton’s only pass of the evening to Quinshay Heard for a 34-yard gain.
The Lions struck first on their opening drive of the game. Following a 43-yard scamper by Deion Howard, Heard plowed in from a yard out to gain the early advantage.
But East Webster would answer on the ensuing kickoff. Marques Reives fielded the kick and raced 93-yards to paydirt tying the score in the early goings.
That however would be the only score the Wolverines would muster the rest of the evening as Hamilton responded for 45 unanswered points.
A 56-yard touchdown run by Sims would give the Lions back the lead midway through the second quarter and a 23-yard field goal with 10-seconds remaining before halftime put Hamilton ahead 17-7.
Heard took the opening kickoff of the second half back 62-yards down to the 3-yard line where Cojuante McMillian scored two plays later from 1-yard out.
A Wolverine fumble at their own 3-yard line gave Hamilton yet another short field to work with. McMillian again snuck across the goal line for the second time to go up 31-7.
Later in the third quarter another long return, this time a 37-yard punt return by Deion Howard, would setup the Lions inside the red zone. Howard was rewarded for his efforts on an 8-yard touchdown run two plays later.
But Hamilton was not done scoring yet in the third. The Lions added their fourth touchdown of the quarter when defensive lineman Jeremy Lindsey scooped up a fumble and rumbled 65-yards to the house taking a 45-7 lead into the final quarter.
Hamilton would add one more late score with just under two minutes remaining as Pallas Fair broke loose on a 31-yard scurry down the right sideline.
East Webster saw its homecoming and senior night spoiled as they fell to 5-5 and 2-2 in district play. The Wolverines were limited to 94 total yards of offense on the night.
Deangelo Liggins rushed nine times for 30 yards for East Webster while quarterback Codie McKee hit on 7-of-20 passing for 38 yards. Jake Williams was the Wolverines leading receiver making a pair of catches for 11 yards.
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