HAMILTON — The Maroon froshmore football team hit the road Monday afternoon and ran their record to 5-0 with a 46-6 win over the Hamilton Broncs. The victory was much more methodical than previous blowouts this season when Central would erupt for a big quarter before coasting to the victory. In this one BC opened with a six point first quarter and followed it with 13, 14 and 13 point efforts to distance themselves from a game Hamilton squad.
The game opened with a big play as Hamilton attempted an onside kick that was snatched out of the scrum by Maroon lineman Devin Maloghney. Central couldn’t take advantage of the good starting field position however and gave the ball up on downs after advancing to the Bronc red zone. BC had shop set up again as the first play Hamilton ran was an interception by Chad Peterson who had a nice return of 34 yards. Hamilton quickly returned the favor and intercepted a Danny Peoples pass to erase the Maroon momentum. A three and out followed by a 26-yard Peoples punt return seemed to have the Maroons poised to put some points up but again the Broncs held and forced another turnover on downs deep in their own territory.
Ben Holt put an end to the next Hamilton possession with a sack on third and 8 and this time the Maroons did not squander the scoring chance. Peoples hit Peterson to get the Maroons close and then Peoples kept an option run for a 14 yard score just before the end of the first quarter. The point after was blocked and BC took a 6-0 lead into the second quarter.
That lead did not last long. Hamilton hit its two biggest plays of the game on the ensuing drive. First a nifty 47-yard run got the Broncs into Maroon territory for the first time. Kyle Harrington came up with a sack on second down and it seemed the Maroons would hold but Hamilton called for a screen pass that was run to perfection and resulted in a 40 yard touchdown and a tie ballgame. Liam Doran made sure it stayed that way as he intercepted the 2-point conversion from his D-tackle position after his cohorts pressured the Broncs QB into a hurried throw.
The Central offense had found its rhythm and crisply drove back down the field to seize the lead back with a 61-yard march that took less than 90 seconds. Harrington did the bulk of the heavy lifting with back to back big plays. He first ran to the left side for a 34 yard run and then took a swing pass for 18 more.
Kamen Richards continued where he left off after scoring four times last week he punched in another on a screen pass from Cole Harper The PAT was good and it was 13-6. Central got the ball back quickly after a first down sack by Tyler Trudnowski put the Broncs behind schedule with the sticks. BC couldn’t take advantage of good field possession and stalled out inside the Hamilton 30.
Again a big defensive play gave it back to BC as the Broncs snapped the ball over the quarterback’s head and Tanner Costello beat everyone to the ball from his defensive end position. The hustle play gave it to the offense at the 18 and Harper punched it in from two yards out after Holt busted off a 12-yard run to get them in close. Again Hamilton blocked the PAT and the score was 19-6 late in the second.
Peoples made sure Hamilton’s last possession would get them no closer on the scoreboard. After picking up two first downs and entering the Maroon half of the field Danny picked off a pass inside the 20 with less than a minute to go.
The second half started with another big special teams play by the Maroons. William Pickett was the first to make it to the return man, he stood him up and as the rest of the kickoff team swarmed the ball came loose. Pickett started the play and finished it with the recovery and BC had the ball Bronc 18.
Yet again the Broncs hung tough and forced Central into third and 15. Harper was flushed from the pocket and tried to connect with a receiver in the end zone but was picked off giving it back to the Broncs inside their own 5. Hamilton seemed about to march back down the field after converting two first downs but Holt came up with another sack on third and 6 forcing a Bronc punt.
The BC special teams came up big again as Peoples settled under the punt at his own 45 and got several blocks as he raced down the sideline before getting tripped up at the 1. Richards finished the one-play, 1-yard drive quickly with a dive up the middle and BC finally started to distance themselves at 26-6.
The Maroons immediately struck again as Costello forced a fumble that Trudnowski pounced on giving the ball to the offense at the 32. Another lightning quick drive had the Maroons up 33-6 as Peoples busted off a run for 27 followed by Holt taking it the final five yards. Hamilton started to move the ball again but found themselves stymied as Doran came up with a sack on fourth and 5 on the final play of the third quarter.
Central’s first drive of the fourth ended up in a rare sight in recent weeks as Costello was called on to punt. The Maroons held again and took advantage of starting at Hamilton’s 43. People’s set up the score with another keeper, this one going for 28 yards which was followed by a great run by Pickett, who was hit at the line of scrimmage but broke several tackles before finally pushing the pile into the end zone. After Hamilton was forced into a long third-down pass that was intercepted by Michael Cooney the Maroon run game started on a long drive took most of the final 5 minutes off the clock and culminated with Peterson putting the exclamation point on the 46-6 win with a 1-yard score. The score resulted in the last 1:19 being played under the mercy rule, the fourth time in five games the froshmores have been up by 35 or more points.
The unsung hero of the Maroon’s defensive unit was definitely the secondary. In addition to intercepting the passes, the unit also had several breakups and shut down the Bronc passing attack all game long.
Cooney, Peoples, Harper, Dalton Sessions, Colin McArthur and Kyle Schulte all contributed from Central’s defensive backfield.
The Maroon varsity will return to the Bitterroot Valley to take on Corvallis Friday evening while the froshmores will be at home against the Blue Devils on Monday as they attempt to cap an undefeated season.
— Submitted by Derek Hendrickson