JASPER — Turnovers and miscues cost Hamilton County a chance to stay competitive in a 46-14 loss to Williston at Veterans Stadium on Friday night.
In a game filled with a combined eight rushing touchdowns, Williston scored first on a 32-yard run by Rhett Munden on a three-play drive in the first quarter.
Hamilton came right back on a 53-yard touchdown run by Jeremiah Gibson on a fourth-and-3 play. Both teams converted on 2-point conversions to make it 8-8.
Williston (1-3) used multiple backs on its next drive with Jacurtis Pitts running it in from 1-yard out. Munden had an 18-yard gain in the drive and running back Lamonte Terrell also carried the ball. With another 2-point conversion, Williston went up 16-8 with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
Munden was the star for the Red Devils in gaining 231 yards on 16 carries for the night.
“He’s a great senior leader for us,” Williston coach Ric Whittington said. “He’s a very dependable running back and in high school football when you got a dependable running back, you’re going to continue to use him and put him in a position to impact the game. And he impacted it.”
And after the Trojans (0-5) pulled within 16-14 on a 1-yard Ahmawe Bell run with 4:24 remaining in the half — which was set up by a 62-yard Tyler Whetstone run — Munden continued to make his impact.
It took less than three minutes for Williston to answer as the Red Devils’ backs ripped off chucks off yardage with a 32-yard run by Munden and a 27-yard run by Pitts, to score, making it 22-14.
Hamilton’s Whetstone got on track with a 14-yard pass completion, an 11-yard run and a 20-yard pass completion to Gibson after eluding a tackler.
But on Williston’s 9-yard line with seconds to play, disaster struck for the Trojans Whetstone fumbled and comedy ensued when a defensive lineman picked up the ball and rambled ahead off everyone toward Williston’s end zone. Gibson, though, was able to track the lineman down and make the tackle on Hamilton’s 40-yard line as the half ended.
Whetstone threw eight times for 53 yards with one interception, and ran for 88 yards on nine carries. HCHS running backs Bell and Kejuan Robinson were used to grind out some tough yards up the middle. Bell ran 10 times for 36 yards, and Robinson had 50 yards on 14 carries.
After an interception by Jacquan Strawder, Whetstone hit Nigel Cherry on a 24-yard pass play to Williston’s 19-yard line. But again came a costly mistake when Hamilton fumbled and another Red Devil appeared headed for six points before being tackled from behind, this time at Hamilton’s 5-yard line. Munden then added his second touchdown run of the night to make it 30-14.
“On penalties and turnovers, when it comes to high school football, you have things that can sway (a game) one way or the other,” Whittington said. “But on offense we played really well tonight, including on the line of scrimmage.
“We came in and did what we thought we could do.”
Pitts added another running touchdown for Williston before another mistake cost Hamilton six points.
On second-and-9 from the Red Devil 19, Whetstone appeared to cross the end zone on a run but the ball was knocked loose and officials called touchback and Williston got the ball on its 20-yard line.
One-play later Munden slanted past defenders on an 80-yard TD run for the final score of the game to punctuate Williston’s first win of the year.
HCHS coach Richard Vester said he talked to the team about taking better care of the football, but as the coach took some part of the blame.
“We’ll evaluate film,” he said. “Make corrections and go back to work.”