After an off week, the Hamilton Lions got back on the winning side of things in Division 1-1A with a 41-18 rout of Houlka on Friday.
Hamilton put up 28 second-quarter points and had a 35-6 lead at the half. Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said having senior QB Quinshay Heard, who had missed the previous two games, back healthy was a difference maker on Friday.
“Having Quinshay back definitely gave us a spark. It allowed us to do some things we hadn't been able to do in the two games before that,” Weeks said. “We're just getting a lot of guys back healthy, and that showed on Friday.”
Heard's younger brother, sophomore running back Keshon Heard found the spark on Friday with three scoring runs and a two-point conversion run.
“Having Quinshay back really takes the pressure of Keshon because defenses had really been keying in on him,” Weeks said. “With both of them healthy, it makes it real hard on defenses. It's hard to cover them both.”
Keshon Heard got the scoring kicked off with his two-yard run in the first quarter. Fellow running back Pallas Fair added a four-yard scoring run at the beginning of the second quarter, and Heard capped it off with a two-point conversion run to put Hamilton up 15-0.
Houlka answered back quickly with quarteback Wyatt Esterly hooking up with Larry Jones for a 79-yard score, but Hamilton rattled off 20 unanswered points to end the first half.
Quinshay Heard had a 52-yard scoring run, followed by a 19-yard score from brother Keshon.
Nick Owens, who was also making a return from injury, picked off Esterly near the end of the half and returned it 53 yards to the house for another score and the 28-point halftime lead.
Houlka had the lone score of the third quarter with Esterly finding Tyreque Reed for a 30-yard touchdown, but the Lions struck back with an 85-yard scoring run from Keshon Heard in the fourth.
Hamilton's defense gave up a 25-yard touchdown run from James Buggs, but Weeks said he was overall pleased with their performace on that side of the ball.
“I think the defense played well and shut them down most of the night. They definitely had some good players, and we were able to hold them,” Weeks said. “I think we played well on both sides of the ball.”
The Lions go back on the road next week to face Thrasher.
“It's always difficult to go on the road and play, especially in 1A because it's a lot of long road trips and tough places,” Weeks said. “Thrasher is a good team, and we know it will be a tough battle and another slugfest. They've got some big boys.”
“We're going to have to stay healthy and play every week. We knew it would be a grind every week in this division.”