Despite spirited efforts from running backs Ty Jones and Tyler Boland, Vinemont (4-2, 2-2 in Region 7) fell short in its effort to upset Class 3A No. 4 Hamilton (6-0, 4-0 in Region 7), as the Eagles came up just short 56-49 at home on Friday night.
Boland scored two touchdowns in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, one on a 58-yard punt return and the other on a 50-yard touchdown catch, to bring it to a one-possession game.
It was only after Hamilton recovered an onside kick with 20 seconds remaining that Vinemont’s hopes for a victory were dashed.
“It was just an unbelievable effort from our kids tonight,” coach Alan Scott said. “They played their hearts out, but we just ran out of time in the end.”
Both offenses started out strong as the Eagles took an early 7-0 lead on a 10-yard run by Jones.
After two quick scores by Hamilton, Vinemont tied the game at 14-14 on a 38-yard run by Jones.
Later in the quarter, down 21-14, the Eagles’ Josh Chambers scooped up a blocked punt and returned it 25 yards for the score, tying the game once more.
However, Vinemont couldn’t keep Hamilton out of the end zone on its next two possessions and trailed 35-28 going into the half.
Jones provided most of the pop in the first half, amassing 178 yards on 18 carries to go along with his three touchdown runs.
It was a different story in the second half, however, as Hamilton took advantage of a couple of Eagle miscues to build a comfortable lead late in the fourth quarter.
Big plays also plagued Vinemont as they allowed scores of 70, 41 and 50 yards, respectively.
The main culprit was Aggie quarterback, Mitch Stults, who accounted for four touchdowns and almost 350 yards of total offense, most coming through the air.
“Hamilton deserves the ranking that they have,” Scott said. “They have a really good team.”
For the Eagles, Jones finished with 230 rushing yards on a whopping 38 carries, while Boland accounted for 153 all-purpose yards. Each reached the end zone three times.
Quarterback Duncan Hopper’s only completion came on a touchdown pass to Boland late in the game.
“I think it’s pretty remarkable what those two did tonight,” Scott said. “Both of them, as well as our whole team, fought very hard all game long.”
Vinemont will remain at home for another pivotal Region 7 game against Good Hope next Friday.
“You know, this one hurts,” Scott said. “But we have a huge game in front of us next week and we need to get our focus ready for that.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.