From the opening minutes, East Hamilton played like a team that recognized what was on the line. Facing District 6-AA foe Hixson on the road, with the playoffs on the line, the Hurricanes wasted little time taking control of the game and their postseason hopes.
Led by junior running back Logan Jackson, East Hamilton's offense was simple but effective, and its defense was smothering in a 28-6 victory.
"We were strong on both sides of the ball tonight," Hurricanes coach Ted Gatewood said. "Logan is a special player. He's a tough runner, hard-nosed, and he's getting better with his field vision. The thing about tonight, he got stronger as the game wore on and we just put it on his shoulders."
Jackson scored East Hamilton's first two touchdowns and finished with 189 yards. He added a third score early in the second half to put the game away.
East Hamilton (3-4, 3-1) has won three of its last four games, each a district victory. Hixson fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the district.
"We had a chance tonight to really keep ourselves in the thick of the playoffs," Wildcats coach Houston White said. "But we just came out flat and they took it to us. We've still got hope, but this one hurt."
While Hixson struggled to get much offense working, East Hamilton rolled up 347 total yards. But it was an interception by Hunter Parker that set up the Hurricanes' first score, a 4-yard run by Jackson.
With East Hamilton ahead 21-0 and driving for more just before halftime, Hixson defensive back Justin Johnson intercepted a pass and returned it 90 yards for the Wildcats' only points.
However, East Hamilton began the second half with a six-play, 63-yard drive that opened with Jackson's 37-yard run and ended with his 17-yard TD.
"We knew how important this game was," Jackson said. "We just want to earn a chance to get into the playoffs, and we know we have to be focused and win games from here on to do that.
"The line opened some nice holes, and we just kept pounding it right at them."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...