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By Grant Lengefeld

 

Hamilton’s junior high and junior varsity football squads swept the Valley Mills Eagles in their final home games of the season last Thursday at Kooken Field.

The Bulldog seventh graders earned their first victory of the season in a 16-0 shutout, and Taylor Long dashed into the scoring box from nine yards out on the final play of the game to give Hamilton’s eighth grade a 20-14 victory.

The Hamilton Bulldog junior varsity completed Thursday night’s sweep by strong-arming the Eagles, 24-12.

Hamilton’s first offensive series of the ballgame stalled at midfield, and Valley Mills responded with a 50-yard scoring drive to take an early 6-0 lead.

The Dogs answered by marching 70 yards and posting eight on the board. Denver Poe streamed a pass over the top to Shane Catoe, who split the middle seam for a 33-yard touchdown reception. Poe kept the ball and plowed in from three yards out for the additional two points to catapult the Bulldogs to an 8-6 lead heading into the second quarter.

Midway through the second, Poe again connected with Catoe for a 25-yard gain. Poe then scampered 20 yards to pay dirt on the subsequent play, and Blain Bankston burrowed in from the three for the additional two points to give Hamilton a 16-6 lead with 5:51 remaining in the half.

The stubborn Eagles mounted a six-point response before the end of the half, scoring on a 28-yard quarterback keeper.

Hamilton’s Bradley Collins stuffed an Eagle ball carrier to negate the two-point attempt, and the Dogs held a 16-12 lead at intermission.

With 2:32 remaining in the third period, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 24-12 on a 20-yard touchdown run by Bankston. Bankston too barged across the goal line from the three to tack on the additional two.

Poe dashed the comeback hopes of the Eagles in the final stanza by intercepting a Valley Mills pass at the five yardline and carrying the ball out to the 15. Bankston punched for six yards on two carries, and Matt Zschiesche hauled in a Poe pass for a 10-yard gain and a Bulldog first down.

Poe then broke free for a 35-yard ground gain. Mason Limmer plugged for Hamilton’s third consecutive first down in as many plays down to the Eagle 10, and the Dogs successfully ran the remaining time off the clock to cling to a 24-12 victory.

The win moved the JV Bulldogs to 5-4 on the season and 3-2 in district competition with one road game remaining this Thursday in San Saba.

Poe targeted and connected with eight different receivers last Thursday including Catoe, Zschiesche, Bankston, Cade Kneuper, Caleb Niemann, Erich Eilers, Baylen Votaw and Jameson Rice.

Catoe snagged three receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown, including a 20-yard haul before the end of the first half on a reverse pass from Zschiesche.

Defensively, the Dogs were led by Bradley Elkins with four tackles and one sack as well as Jakob Walton, Poe and Catoe with four stops apiece.

Bankston and Payton Bagwell each recorded three tackles, and Luis Perez defended several Eagle pass attempts roaming around in the Bulldog secondary.

Hamilton’s junior high and junior varsity Bulldogs will take their show on the road this Thursday to San Saba for their final games of the 2017 season. The seventh grade will jumpstart the evening with a 5 p.m. kick-off.

* Thanks to Cody Catoe for providing game summaries and stats.

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