By Kedrick Storey
FALKNER – High school football coaches will tell you they’ll take a ugly win over a pretty loss anytime.
That was the case for the Falkner Eagles Thursday, as they overcame six turnovers and three defensive touchdowns by the visiting Hamilton Lions to win 32-27 in the Div. 1-1A showdown. Falkner improved to 2-2, 1-0 in Div. 1-1A. Hamilton dropped to 3-2, 1-1.
“I’ll take it,” said Falkner coach Corey Armstrong. “It’s a game like I’ve never been apart of. The defense played lights out all night. The offense would get a big play and then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.”
When the Falkner offense was productive, they totaled 310 yards – 256 rushing – led by running back Jeramie Lawrence and quarterback Jase Stroupe. Lawrence finished with 180 yards on 26 carries and three rushing scores. He also hauled in a 20-yard TD pass from Stroupe in the second quarter for a 7-6 lead. Stroupe ran for 93 yards.
The Falkner defense, which recorded a pair of safeties held Hamilton to two total yards, but the Lions were still within a score of taking the lead the entire night thanks to a defense that produced 21 points. Falkner quarterback Jase Stroupe threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, a second-quarter 52-yard return by Michael Roberts and a 56-yard return by Cole Williams to give Hamilton a brief 20-14 lead with less than nine minutes to play in the third quarter.
“I’ve got four starters out on offense, and they (Falkner) were doing some things that were causing us problems. We had some young guys in there and a quarterback who has only played two games,” Hamilton coach Ray Weeks said. “But give them (Falkner) credit. We struggled on offense, but they had a lot to do with it. We have some work to do, but our defense stepped up and kept us in the game.
Tanner Dement’s fumble return on a bad snap by Falkner at the 16-yard line with 9:27 left in the game was the third defensive touchdown of the game by Hamilton.
“The defense played lights out. We knew they had some weapons and we knew we had to come play,” Weeks said. “And they did. They made some plays for us that kept us in the game. We just couldn’t get anything going on offense.”
The Lions’ best offensive drive of the night was a 56-yard TD run by Keshon Heard on the first play of their second possession of the third quarter.
Sophomore QB Byron Butler, subbing for senior Quinshay Heard, left with an injury in the first half and was replaced by wide receiver Samuel Peloquin.