PEARCY, Ark. – Four turnovers can be devastating for a football team, but that wasn’t the case for Lake Hamilton Friday night at Wolf Stadium against El Dorado.
The Wolves rolled into the 6A semifinals despite the miscues, beating El Dorado, 50-14. Lake Hamilton (10-1) plays Sylvan Hills, a 7-0 winner Friday over Little Rock Parkview.
“Our kids played well; they adjusted, and made plays on both sides of the ball,” said winning coach Tommy Gilleran. “Two of our fumbles came while we were struggling for more yards. El Dorado did a good job of trying to strip it. Those turnovers put us in a bit of a bind.
“Getting to play past Thanksgiving is always a big deal. I’m so excited for the kids. We’re one step closer to getting a chance to play for another state title.”
El Dorado starts game with onside kick
Lake Hamilton did not get off to a good start. The Wildcats’ started the contest with an onside kick, and recovered at the Wolves’ 46. They ran nearly five minutes off the clock, scoring on a 1-yard plunge by Branden Moore.
The Wolves answered in a hurry, scoring on a 6-yard run by junior Owen Miller with 4:21 left in the first quarter. Lake Hamilton was quickly in the red zone again after an interception return by Izaiah Clenney to the Wildcats’ 13. Three plays later junior quarterback Grant Bearden scored the first of his two touchdowns in the game. El Dorado would never lead again.
A 61-yard punt by El Dorado backed the Wolves up to their own 1. No big deal as Lake Hamilton rolled 99 yards, with Miller scoring on a 9-yard run. Miller would finish the night with 122 yards on 16 carries. He also caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Bearden in the third quarter.
Woodley takes over game in second half
Moore would score again for the Wildcats, only to see sophomore Kendrick Martin tally a six-pointer on a 24-yard run with 46 seconds left in the first half.
“Grant (Bearden) did a great job of checking off on his own tonight,” said Gilleran. “He has five or six plays he can check to put our kids in the best shape to make plays.”
It was junior fullback Tevin Woodley making most of the plays in the second half. He rushed for 141 of his 221 yards in the final two quarters. Woodley’s only score was a spectacular 32-yard run up the middle of the field with 6:30 left in the game. Bearden scored on another sneak for the Wolves’ final touchdown.
The Wolves finished with 519 total yards, 416 on the ground. Bearden completed 6 of 9 passes for 103 yards and a TD. He was intercepted once.
“Hopefully we can cause some problems for Sylvan Hills with things we do,” said Gilleran. “We (coaches) have got to make sure our kids are sharp next week, and do things right. We had great practices last week, and we’ve got to do more this next week.”