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From the Hunt High varsity football standpoint, the best news reported from Warrior Stadium on Friday evening was that the weary Warriors don’t have to play next week.
“We’re beat up; we need the week off,” lamented second-year head coach Keith Byrum after his Warriors suffered the worst loss in the program’s illustrious 40-year history by a 56-0 count to a bruising Havelock squad that entered ranked No. 6 among the state’s 3-A teams in this week’s Associated Press poll.
The Rams of first-year head coach Caleb King scored touchdowns their first six possessions as well as on two of Hunt’s possessions (fumble returns for TDs). Big, strong, swift and deep, Havelock forced the clock to be run continuously when it boosted its margin to 42-0 with still seven minutes, three seconds remaining in the first half.
Both teams wrapped up nonconference play and each has next week off. Havelock of the 3-A Coastal Conference bullied its way to a 5-1 showing, while Hunt of the 3-A Big East Conference dropped to 2-4 in just the second meeting of the programs (series tied 1-1).
The Warriors needed a flawless performance to have a whimper of a chance. But they lost the first of three fumbles late in the first quarter. Hunt fumbled away possession twice more in the first half and the Rams converted all three recoveries into TDs — two directly with senior Soloman Belligotti twice returning recoveries for 46 yards and six points. Senior place-kicker Christian Hoomana went 8 for 8 on extra-point kick attempts.
The Rams did not commit a turnover and were obviously undeterred by 14 penalties for 148 yards.
King liked his Rams’ effort the first half and noted: “It’s always difficult when the clock starts running to keep the intensity level. You want to get your people in and you want to get your plays in.
“The scores don’t dictate what we do. We are trying to be the best team we can be. You’ve got to ignore the scoreboard — even when you’re down.”
And being down never crossed the Rams’ minds as junior running back Cameron Hutchinson thundered for 104 yards and 11 rushes — all in the first half. Senior quarterback Zach Sabdo, throwing to a bevy of sure-handed receivers, connected on 12 of 17 passes for 186 yards and two TDs.
Hutchinson found the end zone from 20 and 3 yards out. Sabdo aired scoring passes of 19 yards to Welton Spottsville and 46 yards to senior Tyler Hundley on fourth down and long yardage.Senior Justin Hoover rambled 46 yards for a TD and accounted on the only second-half score on a 2-yard carry on fourth down.
Hunt’s only threat came its final possession. Behind the running of senior Javal Bowens, the Warriors, limited to 83 yards total offense, drove to Havelock’s 14-yard line before senior Timothy Horton’s fourth-down stop left Bowens a yard shy of a first down.
Byrum explained the Warriors were without several players because of sickness and more were sidelined with bumps and bruises.
“This was a bad week for us to have them,” Byrum contended. “We were nowhere close to having a full complement. We are very beat up.
“But you have to give credit where credit is due. They are very good again and showed they are good at what they do. We were prepared for them to be fast and strong, and they capitalized on every mistake we made.”