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Hatley has more firepower than Hamilton


James Bailey, Dispatch Sports Correspondent



HAMILTON -- Lions and Tigers sometimes combine for fierce and high-scoring results. 


Cody Taylor and Tyler Edwards helped make sure the Tigers had a little more firepower. 


Edwards rushed for 170 yards and Taylor added 165 more to lead the Hatley High School football team to a 48-35 victory against Hamilton on Friday night. 


The performance helped Hatley improve to 4-0, while Hamilton slipped to 1-3. 


Both teams scored on their first possessions. Taylor, a senior, exhibited power running up the middle to march his team down the field. The march culminated with a 10-yard burst up the middle. Caleb Walters added the extra point to give Hatley a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. 


Hamilton, led by fleet-footed junior quarterback Zarratt Sims, zig-zagged through an aggressive defensive line and responded in four plays. Sims found an opening around right end and outran defensive backs for Hamilton''s first touchdown. John Alvo''s extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 8 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter.  


From there, Hamilton relied on Cojuante McMillian and Deion Howard to take pitchouts from Sims and run right one play and left the next. The formula proved effective and helped Hamilton go into halftime tied at 21. 


Taylor provided consistent rushing up the middle, bruising Hamilton for four touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 220-pounder kept Hatley''s momentum alive and used valuable clock time. Combined with Edwards, they accounted for 330 of Hatley''s 451-yard ground attack. 


"This was a team effort," Taylor said. "Our line opened up holes all night long. It''s not about me but the rest of the team." 


Hamilton needed only 20 seconds into the third quarter to take the lead, as Sims scampered up the middle for a 51-yard touchdown. Alvo''s extra point gave Hamilton a 28-21 lead. 


Hatley responded with short runs by Taylor and ultimately a 14-yard touchdown run up the middle by John Tubbs. Walters kick was wide and Hamilton held a lead 28-27 with 9:45 remaining in the third quarter. 


As the fourth quarter began, Taylor scored again on a 3-yard blast up the middle. Taylor ran for the two-point conversion to help Hatley regain a 35-28 lead. 


On the ensuing Hamilton drive, two costly penalties gave the Lions first-and-10 on the Tigers'' 35. Four plays later, McMillian dashed around right end for another score. Alvo''s extra point tied the game at 35. 


Alvo used booming kickoffs (one sailed to the back of the end zone) to keep Hatley deep in its territory to begin drives. 


But it wasn''t enough to corral the Tigers. 


Each Hatley drive consisted of Taylor grinding out tough yardage up the middle. With 7:44 remaining in the game, Hatley started from its 31. Seven plays later, senior quarterback Cody Woods found an opening in the secondary and lofted a 13-yard scoring pass to Tubbs. Walters'' extra point gave Hatley a 42-35 lead with 3:34 remaining. 


Hamilton seemed determined to drive the length of the field for a game-tying score. But Tubbs sacked Sims for a momentum-changing loss. On the next play, the defense flushed out an end-around call to set up fourth down with 1:35 to play. A long pass to Sims that would have given the Lions a first down at the Tigers'' 35 fell through his hands. 


"We missed some opportunities and just didn''t get it done," Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said. 


The Lions took over on downs and needed only two plays before Edwards, a junior, scored the game''s final points on a 9-yard run up the middle. Taylor''s two-point conversion pass failed. 


"This was a big win for us, "Hatley coach Sam Wilson said. "We played a very good Hamilton team. It was a footrace at times, but we were able to hold on, and I''m proud of the way our team played."



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