Hamilton upends Sparta for sixth win
The third time is supposed to be the charm.
For the Hamilton football coach Chris Myers and his players, it turned out to be the fourth time.
After trying—and failing—three times, the Hawkeyes finally secured their elusive sixth win thanks to a 29-14 decision over Sparta in the regular-season finale on Friday, Oct. 21, earning an automatic playoff berth in the process.
Hamilton won its first five games of the season before dropping its next three.
The postseason appearance for Hamilton—who will travel to Edwardsburg for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday, Oct. 28—is its first since 2012. Perhaps not so coincidentally, that also happens to be the last season during which Myers served as head coach prior to taking a three-year hiatus.
And speaking of things that aren’t all that coincidental, this game was the first in which Hamilton running back Trenton Lane played in its entirety since Week 5.
Lane was injured early in a Week 6 loss to Byron Center and missed each of the next two weeks, which saw Hamilton lose to Zeeland West and Unity Christian.
He was back and ready to go in against Sparta, however, rushing for a game-best 192 yards on 13 carries.
One of those carries went for a 53-yard touchdown with 10:55 to play in the fourth quarter. That TD, coupled with a successful conversion run, gave Hamilton its first lead of the game at 14-7.
Sparta responded on its next possession, however, as Grant Kelly sprinted 62 yards to the end zone, knotting the score at 14-14.
Hamilton wouldn’t be denied, however, as its next two possessions resulted in a 12-yard scoring run from Keaton Mudd and a 5-yard TD run from Nolan DeJonge. That made the score 29-14 in Hamilton’s favor.
Hawkeye Sawyer McMahon sealed the victory by intercepting a Kelly pass.
Mudd went 6-of-11 passing for 98 yards to go with 65 rushing yards on 12 carries. He also accounted for Hamilton’s opening-half touchdown with the first of his two rushing TDs.