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Hamilton hopes it can stay focused


Adam Minichino



Ray Weeks has heard the talk. 


But the veteran head coach would prefer to hear the conversations about his Hamilton High School football team in November. 


If people are still talking about the Lions in three months, it means they will have succeeded in building on a 42-0 season-opening victory against Weir. 


For now, though, Weeks isn''t thinking about his program''s highest-scoring game since 2006. He is focused on what his team will have to do at 7:30 tonight to beat Smithville. 


"We''re not in a position to think we''re going to show up and win," said Weeks, who is in his seventh season as head coach at Hamilton High. " 


"We have to prepare hard every week because everybody else will, too. We haven''t been that successful here, so we have to learn how to handle success week in and week out. We have to learn how to put a victory behind us and move to the next one." 


Hamilton is coming off a 4-7 season in which it failed to make the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A playoffs. The Lions have had only one winning season (7-5 in 2005) in the past five seasons, and only four in the past decade. In that time, Hamilton has advanced to the playoffs four times and gone winless. 


Weeks hopes the Lions can change things this season. He hopes the team''s highest-scoring game since a 48-14 victory against Alcorn Central 48-14 on Sept. 29, 2006, will boost the players'' confidence. 


Weeks said his team''s depth was the key against Weir, a Class 1A program that has won six state titles. He said his team wore down Weir in the second half en route to three touchdowns in the third quarter and two more and a field goal in the fourth quarter. 


But Weeks and his players know they won''t have as big an advantage in roster size against many other teams this season, which is why focus and preparation will be essential 


"We''re not watching that film (of the Weir game) anymore," Weeks said "We''re not talking about that game anymore. We have a good group that is focused and knows what it as to do." 


Weeks said he was pleased with his team''s practices early in the week and that he believes leaders like Cole Gill, Cojuante McMillian, Zarrett Sims, and Austin Welch want to help the team make a statement this season and to create a winning tradition before they leave. 


McMillian led Hamilton with 62 yards rushing Friday, while Deion Howard had 58 yards, Sims had 60, Brandon Fikes had 52, and Will Logan had 49 as part of a 287-yard rushing attack. 


Weeks said that balance is based on team chemistry. He said the beauty of his no-huddle offense is that it shares the wealth among players Weeks said are all close on and off the field. He said he hasn''t seen any selfishness on the team to this point and hopes that remains the case the rest of the way. If it does, Weeks feels his team has enough weapons to get back to winning ways. 


"This is just an exceptional group," Weeks said. "It is just going to take a total team effort, staying positive, encouraging (teammates) and not getting down if they get behind, and doing the little things right, like protecting the ball, playing good defense, and keep playing sound football." 





Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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