By Jon Robert Page
The Hamilton Aggies hosted the Northside Rams on a flooded field on Friday night, Sept. 17.
The Rams traveled to Sargent Stadium high off their win over the Gordo Green Wave, while the Aggies sought to protect their undefeated record.
Both teams scored through different means, as Northside dominated the ground while Hamilton took to the skies for big plays. At the end of four wet quarters, the Rams defeated the Aggies with a score of 40-18.
Northside began the opening drive by rushing the ball, and with it they began a long drive that almost took up half of the first quarter. The Rams rushed for first downs at will, and they capped it off with a seven-yard rush from Jacey Mcnutt. After a missed kick and 6:40 left in the first stanza, Northside led the Aggies 6-0.
The Hamilton offense came out with a plan, as one score wouldn’t be enough to deter their efforts. On the first play of the drive, Aggie Bryant Loving first motioned out of the backfield, which was a new concept for the offense. This risk from a new offensive formation was met with immediate reward, as Loving burned the Northside secondary. Quarterback Matthew Coleman knew exactly where to look, as he found the wide-open Loving for a 67-yard touchdown. Suddenly with a missed PAT and still 6:22 left in the quarter, the Aggies tied the game at 6-6.
The Northside special teams was up for a challenge, though. On the kickoff, they ripped through the Aggie defense, only to be stopped at the Aggie 34. Only three plays later, the Rams scored to regain the lead following a 15-yard carry from a quarterback keep. The kick split the uprights, and with 5:06 left in the first quarter the score was 13-6.
An unsuccessful Aggie drive saw the Rams regain possession, where they continued to pound the ground. However, Northside saw themselves in a tough situation, as it was fourth and eight on the Hamilton 28. The Rams decided it was time for a pass, which fell incomplete. It seemed like the defense had made a huge stop until a yellow flag fell onto the field right after the play, saving the drive with a called pass interference on the Aggie defense. This rejuvenated the Rams, as they scored immediately after a holding penalty. The 27-yard score was followed by a blocked kick, and with 10:36 left in the second quarter the Aggies found themselves down 19-6.
Both teams traded possessions, as Hamilton and Northside couldn’t muster up a good drive. The Rams received the ball with little time until the third quarter, and they used their leverage upfront to pile up first downs. This methodical approach was rewarded with yet another Rams score on the ground. A good PAT saw Northside take a 26-6 lead with 0:44 left before halftime.
The Aggies received the returning kickoff at the 38 yard line, but a late hit penalty on Northside brought the ball up to the Rams’ 48.
On first down and 10, Coleman found his brother, Brett Coleman, on a 40 yard pass up the Rams’ sideline, putting the Aggies at first down and goal with 24 seconds left in the half.
An incomplete pass stopped the game clock with 12 seconds left. The Aggies used a timeout to discuss the play before executing second down. Another incomplete pass brought up third down and goal with 8 seconds left in the half.
The Rams were called on pass interference the third-down pass attempt from Coleman to Loving, leaving just one second left on the clock. The penalty put the ball on the Rams’ five yard line and gave the Aggies a second chance at third down.
Coleman threw to Loving in the corner of the end zone as he fought off a defender but missed the pass. Hamilton’s coaching staff swarmed the field and head coach Barry Peoples argued with the an official in the Rams’ end zone as they believed Loving was shoved during the play. Officials ruled an incomplete pass and numerous penalty flags were thrown against Aggies’ sideline.
The Aggies came out of halftime furious, as on the second play of the third quarter Bryant Loving slipped free to make a catch on the run.
With only one defender left to beat, Loving made a beautiful side-juke move to evade any danger on his way to an 86-yard touchdown. A missed PAT followed, and with 11:02 left in the third stanza, the Aggies chipped at the Northside lead, 12-26.
The Rams were very content with their lead as they rushed again and again. The Aggies, still with no answer to the ground attack, could only slow down the Northside drive. The Northside march proceeded for a majority of the third quarter, and it resulted in yet another rushing touchdown for the Rams. The PAT was good, as the Northside lead was stretched to a score of 33-12.
The teams traded possessions again, Hamilton via punt and Northside via fumble recovered by Adam Frost to start the fourth stanza. The Aggies used this momentum to jumpstart their offense, as Brett Coleman performed a 29-yard rush on the second play of the possession. Following a defensive penalty, the Aggies decided to dial up another air raid. This time the target was Brett Coleman, who was trailing into the end zone. Matthew Coleman placed the ball between two defenders for the diving Brett Coleman, who made the spectacular catch for the Aggie score. Another missed PAT saw the score change to 33-18 with 8:46 left in the game.
A new Northside possession yielded no surprises, as they stuck with the ground game. They melted the clock through another dominant showing on the ground, scoring with little time left in play. After the good kick, the Rams lead strengthened to a score of 40-18. With an empty drive from the Aggies, the Rams killed time on the ground to secure the win.
The now 4-1 Hamilton Aggies will travel this Friday in search of a win against the 1-3 Wellborn Panthers, as the 4-1 Northside Rams will protect their home turf from the 2-2 Fayette County Tigers.
Matthew Coleman led the Aggies, completing six of his 14 pass attempts for 219-yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 20-yards on eight carries.
Bryant Loving made two catches for 153-yards and two touchdowns, as Brett Coleman had three receptions on the night for 67-yards and a score.
Adam Frost anchored the Hamilton defense with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery, followed by Thomas Angel and Kevin McBride who both had nine tackles each for the game.
Bryant Loving had six tackles, while Devin Vazques and Josh Franks each had five total tackles.
Brett Coleman and Lucas Cargile each got four tackles, as Ethan Ledbetter and Elijah Dollar performed three tackles.
Jayden Hatcher, Brodie Moody, Will Shotts, and Logan Hudson all had two tackles each, and both Dawson Taylor and Jase Taylor had one tackle apiece.
See complete story in the Journal Record.