A solid first half effort wasn’t enough to let the Bulldogs break on through to the other side.
Hampton High School (9-2) trailed 32-19 but were unable to get back within contention as they suffered 54-27 loss to Grace Christian Academy Friday night inside the chilly confines of J.C. Campbell Stadium.
The Rams (9-3) advance to the quarterfinals of the TSSAA Class 2A playoffs next week against the No. 1 seed, Oneida. The Indians are coming off a win against Rockwood in the second round.
It was the first win for Rams’ head coach Randy McKamey over Hampton head coach Mike Lunsford since he assumed the GCA position.
Caleb West helped make things interesting early for the Bulldogs by recovering the ensuing onside kick to open up the contest. Hampton used eight plays on the drive and used junior Jerry Lunsford to go in from 6 yards out to take a 7-0 advantage with 8:28 in the first period after a West point-after attempt.
GCA did not take long to respond with Hayden Coffman rumbling in from 30 yards out to put his team on the board but a missed extra point kept the ‘Dogs lead at one at the midway mark of the first period.
A twist-of-fate hit the ‘Dogs on their following possession. Junior quarterback Coby Jones converted a third-and-long with a pass to Lunsford for 28 yards but Wade Sluss was able to recover a fumble for GCA to flip the field of play.
Skyler Sexton was able to give the Rams the lead at the end of the first with a 30-yard field goal to move ahead, 9-7.
HHS was able to get two scores from sophomore tailback Adam McClain from 3 and 1 yard in the second period but a pair of trick plays, including a double pass and misdirection play, have the Rams a sizable lead at halftime.
On the double pass, quarterback Jimmy Clevenger connected with Jacob Henley behind the line of scrimmage, who tagged Nathan Pettit 66 yards down field.
Senior Brandon Maiorino added two scores from his fullback spot and Clevenger added a score in the second half to propel the Rams forward.
HHS didn’t go down without a fight at the end when Ty Robinson went in for a score while Dylan Ford added the two point score.
Hampton ended their season with their 10th straight conference championship inside the Mountain East Conference before next season’s region realignments. The ‘Dogs orchestrated a 33-game win streak during their time in the league.