Hampton Hornets open 2019 with a Special Teams Victory

(Hampton, Ga) – In their opening game of the 2019 season, the Hampton Hornets used three “extra special” special team plays and also forced a turnover at the goal line early to defeat the Fayette County Tigers 15-13. The biggest was a blocked field goal that could have potentially given the Tigers a lead late. Instead, senior Kyle Perry blocked the attempt and it was returned for a touchdown to seal the victory.

After stalling on their opening drive, the Hornets punted to the Tigers who drove quickly down the field. On first down at their own 17, senior quarterback Jekobe Coleman broke to the right and appeared to be headed for a score when he was hit from behind and fumbled at the one-yard line, which was recovered by Hampton defensive back Jaylin Miller.

The Hornet offense, led by senior quarterback Jaivion Dorris, marched the field on a 99-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a Dorris 39-yard run from inside their own five-yard line out near midfield. The drive appeared to stall on the Fayette County 22, but Hampton Head Coach Chad Ashley elected to go for it on fourth down and Dorris found Denard Flowers in the end zone for the season’s first touchdown. 

The ensuing extra point was the first great special team play of the game, as the snap eluded the holder, but he recovered the ball and bounced off a couple of Tiger defenders and  raced to the end-zone for a two point conversion to give Hampton an 8-0 lead which they took into halftime. 

The Tigers took the second half kickoff and put together there most impressive drive of the night, a twelve-play, 90-yard drive that culminated in a 23-yard TD pass from Coleman to Marc Stampley. A missed PAT left the score at 8-6 midway through the third. 

With momentum seeming to switch sides, the Hornets got a 52-yard run from Untavais Varner. While they would not score, the long run flipped the field and put the Tigers in poor field position on their next possession.  Late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers mounted a drive deep into Hornet territory, led by a 27-yard pass from Coleman to Vernon Starks. With 3:23 remaining in the game, Tiger kicker Owen Mikoy, who had made a 54-yard field goal in a scrimmage against Sandy Creek the week before, attempted the 36-yard field goal that was blocked by Perry. Instead of a 1-point lead, the Tigers found themselves down 15-6.

To their credit, the Tigers responded immediately with a two play, 60-yard drive that included a 54-yard TD pass from Coleman to Kamron Glass. But the game was sealed on the Hornets final special team effort of the night, as they covered the on-side kick and closed out the 15-13 victory. 

Hampton Coach Ashley said after the game,

““We made things interesting, no one wanted to leave. The field goal block by Perry was a big time play by a big-time player.” 

Dorris lead the Hornets with 85 yards rushing and 41 yards passing including a TD pass to Flowers. Varner added 70 yards rushing as well.

Fayette was led by Coleman, who had 200 yards passing with 2 TDs, all in the second half. Tiger Head Coach Nick Davis said after the loss,

“We have to stop making mistakes, we can’t fumble on the one going in, we can’t have them pinned down and let the quarterback get outside for a long gain, penalties, dropped ball. We beat ourselves. These guys have to learn to take pride in the little things. We have to learn to win and learn to compete and expect to win and that takes time.  They fought and they did not give up, we have a lot to build on.”

Hampton will take a week off before traveling to Tyrone, Georgia to play the 4th ranked Sandy Creek Patriots while Fayette County will host Pike County this Friday night hoping to find their first win since October 6, 2017.

Rob’s Wrinkles:

1-Hampton Coach Ashley acknowledged the work of their third string quarterback Jaylin Miller. “Our backup quarterback was out tonight, so Jaylin had to step in when Jaivion went down with some muscle cramps late in the game, he did a good job for us.”

2-Fayette County starting quarterback Jekobe Coleman, a three-year starter, is also an all-state shooting guard on the basketball team and played in the state championship last year.

3-Fayette County coach Nick Davis was in his first game as the Tiger head coach. This is his 20th year coaching and he has a career record of 83-116-2 with five teams, including Spalding County, Riverdale and Shiloh. His 2016 Spalding team went to the third round of the state playoffs.

4-Kyle Perry is the first player from Hampton to be offered a Division 1 Scholarship. His brother, Jon, is a defensive lineman for Reinhardt College.

5-The two teams played last season, with Hampton winning 15-7 at Fayette County.

6-Hampton 2019 Playoff Watch – After missing their first ever playoff appearance by just one game last season, the Hornets are more determined than ever to qualify. The four teams that qualified last season from Region 4-AAAA include Eastside, Salem, Woodward, and Henry Co (now McDonough). While region games are still a month away, two of the contenders, Salem and Eastside lost their opening games. Woodward is currently ranked 6th in Class AAAA.

7-The loss for Fayette County was their 15th in a row, their longest in school history.

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