by Rick Conrad
For the Pharos-Tribune
Hamilton Heights made the trip to Walton to take on Lewis Cass in an MIC match-up as the seventh-ranked team in Class 3A.
Though the Huskies came away with a 28-20 win over the Kings, nobody bothered telling Cass about their ranking. Lewis Cass made it difficult for Hamilton Heights from the get go by matching intensity and trading blow for blow with the Huskies.
The high-powered Hamilton Heights offense went to work early in the first quarter when quarterback Monte Reed found Justin Feltz for a 53-yard strike putting the ball on the Lewis Cass 14-yard line. On the next play Conner Faulkner took it in from 14 yards out at the 9:40 mark of the opening quarter. The PAT by Henry Magdun was good and Heights took an early 7-0 lead.
The Kings answered less than three minutes later when Brenden McGehee punched it in from 4 yards out at the 6:47 mark. The PAT by the Kings was good and the game was tied at 7-7.
Heights brought the ball out to the 35 on the kickoff and went for the deep ball. The pass attempt was good for a 57-yard TD strike but was called back on a holding penalty. Three plays later with the ball still on the 21-yard line they again went deep, this time to standout Grant Weatherford for a 79-yard TD strike at the 5:41 mark of the first. The point after was again good and Heights took a 14-7 lead.
Once again Lewis Cass went to work and on the seventh play of the drive McGehee this time took it in from 6 yards out to even things up at 14-14 at the end of one quarter.
The Huskies offense went to work again and with just two seconds gone in the second quarter Reed found freshman Jesse Brown for a 9-yard TD pass. The PAT made it 21-14 and things then went south for the Kings offense. Heights scored again with 3:50 left on a 5-yard pass to Weatherford. Penalties and turnover on downs prevented the Kings from getting to the end zone for the rest of the half as the 28-14 score stood during the break.
The Lewis Cass defense stiffened in the second half as the Kings displayed their bend but don’t break style of defense. Hamilton Heights threatened in the second half but Cass came up with some big plays to keep the Huskies offense out of the end zone. The Kings offense sputtered as well in the second half but did make things interesting late in the game.
Kings running back Payton Young picked up a nice 16-yard gain to bring the ball to the 1-yard line with just over four minutes left in the game. On the next play Young took it in to bring the Kings to within a score of possibly tying the game. However, The PAT was off it’ mark and Cass was still down 28-20 with 4:10 to go.
On the next Huskies possession a fumble recovery by the Kings near midfield brought a burst of emotion from the Lewis Cass fans. The jubilation was short-lived though as on the first play the Kings fumbled the ball back to Heights after a nice gain. The Huskies were able to move the ball enough to run out the clock for the 28-20 win.
“I thought our kids played very hard tonight. I’m hoping that we’re a much better team than what we were seven days ago,” said Lewis Cass coach Scott Mannering. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t move the ball better than what we did in the second half. If we could have just gotten another score there in the third quarter this game may have had a different complexion. I was pleased with the intensity our kids played with tonight.”
Fullback Gabe Welch agreed that his team left it all on the field.
“We’ve improved this week and we can’t hang our heads after this game. Nobody on this team likes to lose a game but Coach wants us to get better from week to week and I think we did that tonight. We really came together tonight and we had our chance to take it to them but we just fell short.”