Hamilton tops Jackson, 24-7

PARKERSBURG – Jackson never intended on doing Hamilton any favors. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when the opening kickoff of the second half zeroed in on Tyee Gibson who broke two tackles at the initial line of defense and broke free for a 74-yard touchdown.

That touchdown just 13 seconds into the third quarter broke a scoreless tie and served as the impetus to a Hamilton 24-7 victory during Thursday’s Wood County Middle School Championship at Stadium Field.

“Our special teams has been incredible for us this year,” Hamilton coach Rob Davis said. “So when Jackson kicked it deep to Tyee, I was a little surprised. It worked out good for us.”

Gibson, who led the league in scoring during the regular season, capped off his team’s point production with a 67-yard run midway in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats finished the season 8-0 while capturing the Wood County Middle School Championship for the second straight year and 12th time overall.

“This is difficult to get here – it’s a lot of hard work year round, so this is special,” Davis said. “

Hamilton defeated Jackson 26-8 during the regular season and was averaging 55 points a game. Yet, at halftime the Generals were playing on even terms even though the stat sheet said differently.

During the first two quarters, Jackson managed just one first down as opposed to six for Hamilton. The Wildcats had produced 115 yards of total offense compared to just 8 for the Generals.

A pair of lengthy punts from Jackson’s Christian Axman averaged 40.5 yards and left Hamilton a long field. Seven penalties for 50 yards didn’t help matters for the Wildcats.

“In the first half, we were killing ourselves,” Davis said. “We were making dumb mistakes, and things we haven’t done all year. We told the kids at halftime that if we eliminate the mistakes, and we go out and play hard football this game is ours. And that’s what we did.”

On the very next play following Gibson’s kickoff return to open the second half, Hamilton’s TJ McIntosh recovered the onside kick. The Wildcats took over on its own 49 and three plays later on fourth-and-6, quarterback Seth Dailey rolled out and found Nathaniel Steed for a 32-yard completion to keep the drive alive.

The twosome hooked up again three plays later for a 9-yard touchdown strike. At the 3:50 mark of the third quarter, Hamilton led 12-0 and Jackson still had not ran an offensive play since the six-minute mark of the second quarter.

Minus a 23-yard completion from Kam Mace to Parker Miller in the first quarter, Jackson’s offense never materialized. In fact, that served as the lone completion of the game. The Generals’ ground game attempted 26 rushes but none resulted in more than a 5-yard gain.

Hamilton tacked on another touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Zion Atkinson busted up the middle for a 50-yard run to put the Wildcats in front 18-0 with 6:15 left in the game.

Midway in the final period, Jackson took advantage of a Hamilton fumble deep in Wildcat territory. The Generals needed just three plays to complete an 11-yard drive as Mace plunged in from a yard out. The point after was successful and sliced the deficit to 18-7.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Gibson iced the victory for Hamilton with his 67-yard touchdown run. Gibson led all ballcarriers with 121 yards on 13 carries.

“We just couldn’t stop that waggle – we worked on it all week,” Jackson coach Murray Mace said. “We just fought hard all game. I thought the kids and the coaching staff did a tremendous job.”