The Hamilton Lions fell in a hole early in their home opener against JZ George and came out with a strong second-half effort that fell short to hand them the 36-20 loss against the Jaguars.

“We didn’t come out playing too well, and the game got away from us a little bit in the first half,” Hamilton coach Wade Pierce said. “We didn’t tackle very well, and we had bad snaps so we were operating behind the chains. We played a lot better in the second half and challenged the kids at halftime. We cleaned things up a little bit, and the kids came out with a lot of fight.”

B.J. Jones scored Hamilton’s first touchdown in the game on a 7-yard run in the second quarter and also had a 55-yard reception off a pass from Collin Holman, but the Lions were unable to score on that drive after a bad snap.

Ty Hall capped off a long drive in the second half by scoring on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

“We held the ball for about nine minutes there at the end of the third and start of the fourth,” Pierce said. “I’m proud of the kids for their effort in the second half, and overall, we really got better. I told them at the end of the game that we have something we can build off of because they finally decided to show off and play hard.”

Jones capped off the scoring with his 63-yard scoring run in the fourth, getting the ball on a bounce after Hall fumbled after a hit.

Jones rushed for 64 yards on seven carries, while Hall had 50 yards on 15 carries. Holman was 2 of 3 passing for 63 yards, both of those passes going to Jones.

“We found out a lot about Ty and B.J. in that long drive. We handed Ty the ball on 12 of 15 plays,” Pierce said. “We found out that he does a great job running between the tackles, and B.J. does great running outside the tackles. He’s our speed guy. B.J. is leading the team in total yardage, and I’m really proud of what he’s been doing because he’s worked hard and earned this. Ty is one of those guys that you can hand the ball to over and over, and he’s going to put his head down and get you some yardage.”

Pierce also said the Lions’ defense played better in the second half.

“All our defensive lineman – Zach Crawford, Tyler Bertrand and Sam Robinson – all played well in the second half,” Pierce said. “In the first half, we had guys in position, and they just weren’t tackling, but we stepped that up. J.Z. George is a good football team. They had a lot of guys coming back who knew their system.”

The Lions will look for their first win next week with another home game against Ethel, which is also searching for its first win.

“If we apply what we did in the second half going into next week, that should build their confidence in a game that we should be able to compete in and have a chance to win,” Pierce said. “Ethel’s coach is doing some good things and worked to get that program going in the right direction and to get his guys ready. We’re also trying to get everything going back the way we should, and hopefully the kids will prepare this week like this is a game we can win.”

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