Prep football: Hamilton honors past by shredding Highlanders

Hamilton’s Maleek Jarrett takes the handoff from Khaliyal Sowell during a Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown game against Moeller at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton on Aug. 26. HHS lost 42-7. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

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Hamilton’s Maleek Jarrett takes the handoff from Khaliyal Sowell during a Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown game against Moeller at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton on Aug. 26. HHS lost 42-7. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

On a night Hamilton High School honored its 1997 Greater Miami Conference championship football team, the current Big Blue squad put on a championship performance of its own.

Led by quarterback Khaliyal Sowell’s 220 total yards and two scores, HHS outscored visiting Oak Hills 28-0 in the second half in a 41-21 victory on Friday night at Virgil Schwarm Stadium.

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Hamilton trailed 21-13 at halftime, but ran the ball 29 times for 261 yards in the second half to win the GMC opener for both schools.

Maleek Jarrett rushed for 145 yards and three scores but Sowell was the difference, gaining 101 yards on the ground in the second half with several big runs for key first downs that kept the Oak Hills defense reeling.

“No. 6 (Sowell) was finally the No. 6 we have waited to see,” Big Blue coach Chad Murphy said. “This kid has greatness written all over him. He was the key tonight. He sparked the entire team.”

“It feels awesome,” said Sowell, who also completed 10 of 16 passes for 73 yards and a score. “I felt like I needed to do what I did in the second half. I needed to put the team on my back, and I think this win means a lot for my teammates.”

Trailing by eight in the third quarter, HHS recovered a fumble and overcame three penalties to tie the game on Jarrett’s 13-yard run followed up by Sowell’s conversion run.

The Big Blue grabbed the lead for good in the fourth when Sowell found Johnny Jones from 4 yards out. Jarrett salted the game away with two touchdown runs in the last five minutes.

“We had some injuries this week, so I think it took us a half to figure out what different packages were working,” Murphy said. “Jones and Jarrett in the backfield was a package we liked, and they did a great job.”

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Jones electrified the crowd with a 65-yard touchdown burst that cut the lead to 14-13 in the first half. Jones finished with 131 yards. As a team, Hamilton pounded out 423 yards on the ground.

Oak Hills stormed out 14-0 and racked up 289 yards in the first half, but the Big Blue defense dominated the Highlanders in the second half, holding the visitors to 137 yards.

“Our defense pitching a shutout in the second half was huge,” Murphy said. “Our defensive line kept constant pressure on all night and our secondary played really well.”

Oak Hills quarterback Jacob Woycke entered the game as the GMC passing leader and didn’t disappoint. Woycke lit up the Big Blue in the first half, completing 18 of 20 throws for 197 yards.

Hamilton picked up its pressure on Woycke in the second half, limiting him to 96 yards through the air.

“We were 0-2 and down 14-0 and our kids could have folded, but they didn’t,” Murphy said. “Our season was really on the line tonight, and our kids battled. I am proud of them and happy for them.”

Hamilton (1-2) travels to Mason next Friday, while the Highlanders (0-3) host Lakota West.

Oak Hills 7-14-0-0—21

Hamilton 0-13-8-20—41

O: Vince Kolb 9 run (Zachary Moeller kick)

O: Grant Rembold 13 pass from Jacob Woycke (Moeller kick)

H: Khaliyal Sowell 2 run (Gabby Oliva kick)

H: Johnny Jones 65 run (Kick failed)

O: Kevin Hopkins 14 pass from Woycke (Moeller kick)

H: Maleek Jarrett 12 run (Sowell run)

H: Jones 4 pass from Sowell (Oliva kick)

H: Jarrett 3 run (Kick failed)

H: Jarrett 18 run (Oliva kick)

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