The adversity of a game finally proved to be too much for the Bulldogs.
Hampton was unable to overcome early turnovers and an injury to Coby Jones in a 55-17 loss to Marion County on Friday night in the Class 2A semifinals at J.C. Campbell Stadium. The loss ends the Bulldogs’ season with a 13-1 record.
“It was a great season,” Hampton Head Coach Mike Lunsford said. “You hate for it to end this way for the seniors because you love them so much. They played hard and gave 100 percent. We had some things go wrong early for us when Coby got hurt and we had two fumbles and a punt blocked – you aren’t going to come back because it put us too far behind. I am not taking anything away from Marion County – they are a great football team and I hope they go next week and win it all.”
After a Hampton punt was blocked on the opening drive, the Warriors wasted no time in moving the ball, and took an early lead on a Logan Walters 30-yard touchdown run.
Hampton, however, looked set to answer by moving the ball, but a fumble at the one halted the drive. The Bulldogs defense put points on the board when Walters was stopped by Dakota Sanchez in the end zone for a safety with just over a minute to play in the first quarter.
Hampton was forced the punt after the free kick, and the Warriors struck again as Walters snuck into the end zone to give Marion a 14-2 lead. The Bulldogs battled back into red zone. However, another fumble halted the drive, and Walters scored on a 47-yard run to move the lead to 21-7.
The Hampton offense got back on the board as Jones hit Nathan Norris for a 65-yard touchdown strike. However, the Warriors answered with another touchdown, and then converted after an interception with another score to take a 34-9 lead into the second half.
In the third quarter, Marion took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, and Walters scored on a three-yard run. The Bulldogs answered on the ensuing drive with an eight-yard run from Jerry Lunsford to cut the gap to 41-17. After the teams traded punts, the Bulldogs jumped on a fumble to open the fourth quarter.
Hampton continued to battle in the final quarter, but they were unable to cut into the gap before the final horn sounded.
Despite the limited time, Jones finished the game with 177 passing yards on 6-of-10 passing with Norris accounting for 70 receiving yards and Jared Wiltshire tallying 48 receiving yards.
Lunsford finished with 51 yards while Adam McClain had 34 yards on the ground.
Sophomore Jason Russell was the leading rushing for Hampton with 105 yards on 11 carries.
“Jason is just a sophomore, and didn’t get to play last year with a broke leg,” Lunsford said. “To come in with very limited snaps, he went in and filled admirable. He played hard, ran the ball well and made some passes. He did some good things for us.”
Marion was paced by Walters as he recorded 153 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“It was a special year, and I hope the kids don’t remember it by this game,” Lunsford said. “I hope they remember it for the first 13 because there were a lot of accomplishments all year long.”
Hampton Head Coach Mike Lunsford Postgame Audio
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