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Fast start propels Hamilton to easy win

 

From Special Reports

 

POTTS CAMP -- The Hamilton High School football team opened its season Friday night with a 43-27 victory against Potts Camp in Mississippi High School Activities Association action. 

 

Hamilton scored on all five of its first-half possessions and added a defensive score to build a 37-7 halftime lead. 

 

"We played really well for the first game," Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said. "We got a lot of players involved. We didn't have a lot of penalties or the other kinds of problems you can expect in the first game. The attitude was good, and we were able to score quickly." 

 

The Lions scored three touchdowns in slightly more than two minutes in the first quarter. Byron Butler hit Austin Bishop for a 41-yard touchdown. Keshon Heard followed with a 53-yard touchdown run. Michael Roberts then got the defense into the act with a 38-yard interception return for touchdown. 

 

Hamilton continued the assault in the second quarter. Heard scored on a 2-yard run, Butler and Bishop hooked up again from 19 yards out, and Bricowski Bankhead caught an 11-yard pass from Butler on the final play of the opening half. 

 

"The defense really set the tone for the game because they set our offense up in some good situations," Weeks said. "Byron really did a good job of leading the offense. You always have things to work on and correct, but it is easier to fix those things when you are doing that after a win." 

 

A 35-yard run by Heard in the third quarter capped the scoring for Hamilton. The junior running back finished with 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns. 

 

Potts Camp scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. 

 

Hamilton will play host to Caledonia Friday night. Caledonia opened the season with a 32-26 victory against Heritage Academy. 

 

n Oak Hill Academy 41, Hartfield Academy 7: At Flowood, Tony Stanford won his coaching debut as the Raiders breezed to the easy win in the season opener for both teams. 

 

"We played really well for a first game," Stanford said. "I thought we got a little lax there in the second half, but a large part of that was because we had a big lead. As far as focus and execution in the first half, I thought it was outstanding, especially for a first game. 

 

"We made a lot of strides from our scrimmage game to Friday night. We still have a long way to go. But you could tell they were taking what we were teaching in practice to the field with them, so that's a very positive sign moving forward." 

 

The Riley brothers led the Raiders. Drake Riley rushed 18 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Riley rushed 14 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Drew Riley finished with 253 all-purpose yards. He also had a 30-yard punt return and 55-yard kickoff return. 

 

Trevor Turner's 32-yard interception return accounted for Oak Hill Academy's other score. 

 

Hartfield Academy had 80 yards of total offense. Many of those came on a scoring drive to end regulation time. 

 

"Defensively, we played really well," Stanford said. "It starts with Drake and Drew up the middle. The other guys really feed off their energy. We set the tone really early in the game on that side of the ball." 

 

In addition to a dominating performance by the Rileys, assistant coach Carl Middleton complimented the play of Turner and Blake Thomas, who also had an interception. He added defensive end Matthew Gwathney finished as one of the game's top tacklers. 

 

Oak Hill Academy will play host to Marshall Academy on Friday night. Marshall Academy rolled to a 70-22 victory against Kirk Academy. 

 

n McAdams 56, West Oktibbeha 28: At Maben, West Oktibbeha coach Danny Crawford saw plenty of bright spots despite a one-sided loss in his team's MHSAA season opener. 

 

"We had some breakdowns on defense," Crawford said. "But, overall, we did a lot of things well. Last season, we really struggled on offense. In this game, we had three of four really good drives. We have a lot of positives we can take into practice next week." 

 

In the preseason, West Oktibbeha had set a goal to try to be a more potent passing attack. In the opener, the Timberwolves were up to the challenge. Quarterback Tyshon Spencer threw three touchdowns, including scoring receptions by Lysanius Ford, Jimmie Bond, and Quantae Belle. Ty Smith also had an interception return for another score. 

 

"There is a lot of stuff we need to work on," Crawford said. "But there are a lot of positives. I feel really good for the first game." 

 

West Oktibbeha will travel to Benton County on Friday night. Benton County opened the season with a 30-16 loss at Byers. 

 

n Okolona 40, East Oktibbeha 8: At Okolona, the Titans lost in the head coaching debut of Kylan Tippett. 

 

"We played really hard, but we had too many penalties and too many mistakes," Tippett said. "We allowed three touchdowns early and struggled to recover from that. We are fortunate we got to add the non-region games so we can learn from our mistakes and fix some things before region play begins." 

 

Okolona scored on five of its first six possession and led 40-0 at halftime. Quarterback Tyson Eddie threw five touchdown passes, including four second-quarter scoring strikes to Rod Jones. 

 

East Oktibbeha erased the shutout in the fourth quarter when Destin Covington scored on a 30-yard run. Jamario Thomas added the conversion. 

 

East Oktibbeha will travel to McAdams on Friday night. McAdams opened the season with a 56-28 win at West Oktibbeha. 

 

n Columbus Christian 38, Delta Academy 8: At Marks, Dawson Shaw rushed for 116 yards and three touchdowns, and KC Cunningham added 102 rushing yards and two scores Friday night to lead the Rams in their season opener. 

 

"It was a long ride over there, and I was worried about getting a good start with the heat and all," Columbus Christian coach Greg Watkins said about the three-hour bus ride. "They fumbled on the second or third play, and I think Kimarri Whitfield picked it up and ran it back to the 11 and then we got into the end zone. After the kickoff, they fumbled and two plays later we scored. It was a good start that helped us get a lot of momentum going." 

 

Shaw scored on runs of 8, 26, and 9 yards, while Cunningham scored on runs of 55 and 35 yards. 

 

Juvante Burks also had 53 rushing yards and a touchdown for Columbus Christian, which rushed for 274 yards on 28 carries. Columbus Christian broke out to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter. 

 

"We had close to 300 yards rushing, and Juvante and B.J. (Shirley) didn't have to run the ball much," Watkins said. "All three of our backs did a really good job. When you have two backs with 100-plus yards it says a lot for your backs and your offensive line." 

 

Alec Vasquez led the Rams with eight tackles, while Whitfield was next with six. Shirley had five solo tackles, Cunningham had four tackles and a sack, and Shaw had three tackles and a sack. 

 

"We played pretty good, but this week we have to work on tackling," Watkins said. "We did a good job of pursuing the ball, but we didn't do a good job of wrapping up. They didn't have a lot of yards, but there were a lot of times when we had them stopped for no gain or a loss and we didn't wrap up. Against more experienced teams and more experienced running backs, they are going to make you pay for that."

 

 

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