Class 6A’s second-ranked Lake Hamilton almost got more than it bargained for Thursday night against Hot Springs. The unbeaten Wolves led 17-0 six seconds into the second quarter. Before it was over Lake Hamilton needed an interception from junior Ethan Watson to preserve a 38-28 victory.
“We can’t spot anyone seventeen points to get in that kind of hole,” said Hot Springs coach Darrell Burnett. “Our defense started out bad, but it wasn’t the guys up front. Stopping big plays was our problem tonight. If you stop the big plays you have a chance.
“If we can play like we did in the second half, we’ve got a chance to be pretty good. We’ve got kids playing with pride, and we’ve got kids fighting. We’re a lot different team from the one that played at Arkadelphia two weeks ago. It’s a whole different mindset since that first game.”
Big plays hurt Hot Springs
Lake Hamilton scored on its first play from scrimmage in the game. Running back Owen Miller slipped out of the backfield, turning a pass into a 69-yard touchdown with 6:33 left in the first quarter.
“We told our kids they were going to pass the ball,” said Burnett. “Lake Hamilton jumped into a different formation, and we had our eyes in the wrong spot.”
Two minutes later sophomore running back Kendrick Martin broke loose on a 41-yard scoring scamper. Alex Hurtz PAT made it 14-0 with 4:10 on the clock. Hurtz added a 42-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.
Passing game sparks Trojans
Hot Springs (1-2) was more physical on defense the final three quarters. At the same time the Trojans exposed some holes in the Lake Hamilton secondary.
Junior quarterback Isaac Shelor tossed a 26-yard scoring strike to Deshawn Roberts with 8:10 left in the first half. A two-pointer followed after a high snap making it 17-8. Shelor completed 2 of 4 pases for 74 yards.
The Wolves answered immediately on a 19-yard scoring run by Tevin Woodley. A 3-yard touchdown run by Tyshawn Hannah made it 24-14, but once again Lake Hamilton answered with a 17-yard TD from Miller. Miller rushed for 126 yards, while Woodley gained 140.
Sophomore Kaleb Williams led Lake Hamilton’s defense with 13 tackles. Ethan Watson had 11 stops, while Iziah Clenney and Obed Liera contributed 10 tackles each.
Shelor, who completed 25 of 42 passes for 309 yards, rallied the Trojans twice in the final half. His second and third touchdown passes of the game went to No. 11 (name not available).
The win could be a costly one for the Wolves. Several players left the field with injuries. Lake Hamilton will host Mountain Home next week. The Trojans play at Hope in two weeks.