Offense clicks as Hamilton downs Basha
Uh oh. Now Hamilton’s offense is rolling, too.
The state’s best defense was up to its usual tricks, but it was the performance on the other side of the ball that must have the team really feeling good about itself at this point.
The top-ranked Huskies rolled up 29 first downs and 527 yards of offense in a 44-14 victory over No. 9 Basha, as Hamilton went on the road and dispatched yet another quality opponent.
With only one starter returning on offense, Hamilton (9-0) knew it might take awhile for everyone to jell, but now with the postseason on the horizon, the Huskies may have just played their most complete game of the year.
Kendyl Taylor had 17 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown and nine catches for 86 yards. Quarterback Blake Kemp was 18-of-25 for 241 yards and scored three total touchdowns.
The secondary shined again, as Cole Luke, Bobby Milus and Josiah Pola each intercepted Basha quarterback Kyle Duran. Milus also had a fumble recovery.
There wasn’t a facet of the game lacking for Hamilton as it seems more than ready to gun for a fourth straight championship in a couple weeks.
“We just played an overall really good football game,” Hamilton coach Steve Belles said.
The game was tied at 7 early, but Hamilton scored 17 points in the second quarter to go into halftime ahead 24-7. Marcus Jones scored on an 8-yard run with 1:30 remaining in the quarter, and then after a stop, the Huskies executed its two-minute offense to perfection, getting close enough for Daniel Wichman to hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired.
Basha cut the lead to 24-14 when J.J. Husar scored from a yard out with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter, but Kemp answered with a 2-yard quarterback sneak on Hamilton’s ensuing possession, and the Bears (6-2) would not score again.
Basha moved the ball well at times, but the four turnovers were too much to overcome.
“They did a nice job,” Basha coach Bernie Busken said of Hamilton’s defensive backs. “We didn’t get open enough, and we just can’t throw it up in the air.”
After running back Clayton Stanchik went down with a knee injury against Chandler, Belles made it a point to start involving Taylor more in the running game. He had the most carries of anyone on the team for the most yards. There were also several quick passes to him on the outside when he lined up at wide receiver.
“With Clayton going down, that was one more weapon we couldn’t use,” Taylor said. “To instrument me more into the game plan was good.”
Just’n Thymes added four catches for 96 yards and a score.
Basha had a big win against Chandler early in the season and started the year 6-0, but has since dropped three straight.
“Now we’re basically in sudden death,” Busken said. “If we lose, we’re done. Honestly, anything can happen with us.”