In one of the most anticipated clashes so far in 2015, Hampton sent a message loud and clear.
The Bulldogs pulled away with authority in the second half en route to take a 41-23 victory over Gatlinburg-Pittman in Gatlinburg on Friday night.
The win improves Hampton to 4-0 on the year, and more importantly 2-0 in Region 1-2A play.
Gatlinburg-Pittman was able to move the ball on the Bulldogs in the game’s opening drive, but the Hampton defense rose to the occasion early with a goal stand – including a missed field goal.
With their backs against the wall, the Bulldogs didn’t miss a beat as Hampton moved to midfield before Coby Jones broke out for a 56-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion gave Hampton an 8-0 lead midway through the opening period.
The Highlanders drove deep into Hampton territory at the end of the first quarter, and scored to open the second quarter on a reverse. However, the Bulldogs kept the two-point conversion outside the goal line to maintain the lead.
After the teams traded possessions, Hampton found the offensive rhythm as Adam McClain scored on a two-yard run. The extra point was unsuccessful as Hampton held a 14-6 lead with just under five minutes to play.
GP answered on their next drive with a pair of passes, and tied the game at 14-14 with 1:12 to play in the half.
Hampton simply flexed their muscle in the second half.
McClain found the endzone for the second time by breaking free for a 59-yard touchdown run to regain the lead for Hampton, and Jerry Lunsford caught a Jones pass for a 50-yard score. after a Highlander field goal, Jones kept the ball for a 13-yard touchdown to give Hampton a 35-17 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
The Highlanders added a score late in the fourth quarter, but Jones once again answered as he found Jared Wiltshire for a touchdown.
Jones led the way for the Bulldogs with 402 total offensive yards.
Hampton is set to return home on Friday to host another set of Highlanders as Cloudland will come to JC Campbell Stadium.