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That’s exactly how many yards and how many points the Hammond Skyhawk defense allowed the Heathwood Hall Highlanders in a 51-0 victory Friday, October 28.
On 13 possessions, the Highlanders got just two first downs and were forced to punt 12 times. The clock expired on the 13th possession with Heathwood facing a second and-10 from its own 44-yardline. Ironically, that was the deepest penetration of the night for the Highlanders.
“They just get to the ball,” Hammond head coach Jon Wheeler said of his defense. “They make up for bad calls on my part because—trust me—if you look at the film, Coach (G.A.) Mangus (Heathwood Hall offensive coordinator) and Coach (Danny) Lewis (Heathwood Hall head coach) had me dialed up half the time. Our boys just made some plays.”
Will McQueen and Brewer LaMotte led the way for the Hammond defense with eight tackles each. McQueen had four tackles for loss, and LaMotte finished with three. Both had two sacks each. Connor Stephens added three tackles, a sack, and three quarterback pressures. He also caused a fumble. Amari Evans and Zay Mathis helped hold SCISA’s leading receiver, Thompson Dubose, in check.
“My assistant coaches are amazing,” Wheeler said. “They don’t need to be working for me; I need to be working for them. They just do a good job getting those boys playing hard.”
Hammond’s offense rolled as well.
Aidan Canzater dashed 50 yards to the end zone on the fourth play of the game, and then a possession later, Dylan Richardson, Hammond’s quarterback and kicker, added a 30-yard field goal to give the Skyhawks a 10-0 lead with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
Richardson completed a four-play, 53-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run to put the Skyhawks up 16-0 early in the second quarter.
“Dylan and Canzater, they just make plays,” Wheeler said. “Offensive line is well coached—best offensive line coach in the state—Jeff Barnes. Eric Wilson (offensive coordinator)— brilliant mind— he did a good job making some adjustments. Those offensive lineman give Aiden and Dylan some creases—and receivers did a great job blocking downfield—they just kind of make it happen.”
Canzater and Richardson combined for five carries and 34 yards on the next scoring drive. Richardson took the ball the final seven yards for the touchdown. He added the extra point, and Hammond led 23-0 with 5:48 left in the half.
After Heathwood’s fifth straight three-and-out, Richardson hit Canzater on a screen pass for a 43-yard touchdown and a 30-0 lead, which the Skyhawks took into the break.
The Highlanders went backwards on their first possession of the second half, giving Ham- mond the ball at the Heathwood 37-yard line. Richardson found Jayson Roberts down the left sideline on the first play, and the Skyhawks led 37-0 with 10:39 remaining in the third quarter.
A possession later, Richardson tossed another screen to Canzater, this time for a 42-yard touchdown.
Hammond added one more touchdown as Omari Bennett grabbed a Heathwood punt at midfield and weaved his way through the Highlanders for a touchdown giving the final count with 4:08 left in the third.
Both teams now turn their attention to the SCISA 4A playoffs, which start Friday, November 4. Heathwood hosts Porter- Gaud, and the Skyhawks host Augusta Christian.
Hammond has outscored everyone in SCISA 4A its played this season by an average of 47 points. However, Wheeler is still exercising caution in the Skyhawks’ quest for their sixth straight title and 20th overall.
“Treat it like you’ve got one more game left because you never know,” Wheeler said. “I’ve been around football a long time. My senior year we’re up 24-0 against Dorman–I played at Lexington—and lost, lost to Dorman in the state championship. So I always tell them keep it focused, keep it dialed in, and again these boys seem to do it every time. To me, that’s the amazing thing.”
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