PARKERSBURG-The third time would not be the charm for the Generals from Jackson Middle School as top-ranked and unbeaten Hamilton Middle School made it three-in-a-row against its North Parkersburg rival with a 26-6 victory in the Wood County Middle School football championships Wednesday night at Stadium Field.
"We were really concerned about our execution coming into tonight because we had already beaten them (Jackson) twice," head coach Rob Davis said. "It's really hard to get your kids to understand the importance of execution when you are playing a team for the third time in a season."
The Wildcats defeated Jackson, 8-6, at Stadium Field on Sept. 13, and then went to the Generals' home field on Oct. 9 and recorded a 22-0 shutout. That would not be the case, however, last night as Jackson took an early 6-0 lead.
"We knew they were going to throw the football," said the coach. "They caught us in a rotation and we did not adjust, and their kid made a nice throw."
The 53-yard scoring pass from Ethan Airhart to Logan Wooddell staked the Generals to a quick one-touchdown advantage with 4:07 left showing on the first quarter clock. Martin, however, was sacked on the two-point conversion attempt to leave the score, 6-0, in favor of Jackson.
Those would prove to be the only points of the first eight minutes of action.
Wood County Middle
At Stadium Field, Parkersburg
Hamilton 26, Jackson 6
JMS (5-3) 6 0 0 0-6
HMS (8-0) 0 12 0 14-26
JMS: Logan Wooddell 53 pass from Ethan Airhart (run failed) 4:07 1st
HMS: Bradley Craig 3 run (run failed) 3:36 2nd
HMS: Easton Martin 36 pass from Craig (pass failed) 0:41.8 2nd
HMS: Rylan Hamilton 46 run (Ty Lawrentz pass from Martin) 4:31 4th
HMS: Craig 12 run (pass failed) 4:00 4th
Jackson: First downs: 7. Rushes-yards: 27-80. Passing yards: 73. Total yards: 153. Passing: 3-11-2. Fumbles-lost: 1-0. Punts-average: 5-35.0. Penalties-yards: 4-32.
Hamilton: First downs: 10. Rushes-yards: 33-246. Passing yards: 36. Total yards: 282. Passing: 1-2-0. Fumbles-lost: 6-34. Punts-average: 3-30.0. Penalties-yards: 5-34.
Jackson: Rushing: Zavian Peacock 7-45. Passing: Ethan Airhart 3-11-2, 73 yards, 1 TD. Receiving: Graham Nesselrode 2-20; Logan Wooddell 1-53, 1 TD.
Hamilton: Rushing: Rylan Hamilton 15-151, Bradley Craig 11-52. Passing: Bradley Craig 1-2-0, 36 yards, 1 TD. Receiving: Easton Martin 1-36, 1 TD.
A 40-yard punt return by Rylan Hamilton, who led all rushers with 151 yards on 15 carries, gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal at the Jackson 9 to open the second quarter of play. But, the Generals' Nathan Edwards-Knotts ended that drive when he recovered a fumble on the first play of the second quarter.
Hamilton, which finished 8-0 on the season, was back in action four plays later when Rylan Hamilton returned a punt to the Generals' 31 with 6:20 remaining until the intermission.
Seven plays later the regular season champions knotted the game at 6 when Bradley Craig bulled his way over from 3 yards out with 3:36 left in the first half of action. The try for the two-point conversion failed and it appeared as if the teams would settle for a 6-6 tie at the intermission.
That was until the Wildcats' pulled out one of their rarely used trick plays.
"We have some trick plays in our attack," said Davis. "But we are kind of a grind it out, old-school, style of team. But we have them and that one really worked."
Facing a second-and-2 at the Jackson 36 and with time running out in the half, the Wildcats' Craig lined up under center and launched a perfectly thrown ball to quarterback Easton Martin, who had lined up at receiver prior to the snap.
The play worked to perfection with Martin scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 41.8 ticks left on the clock.
"Huge, just huge," said Davis. "We are a notoriously slow starting team in the second half so that score gave us a big lift at halftime."
It also put the Wildcats in the lead for good as Hamilton would add two scores on a Rylan Hamilton 46-yard run and a Craig 12-yard run, and a two-point conversion on a pass from Martin to Ty Lawrentz to close out the scoring and make sure that there would be no upset.
"Our kids played hard," said the coach. "I'm very proud of what these kids accomplished tonight. They are a very special group of kids and coaches, and I am proud to be their coach."