East Hamilton came out wearing all-black uniforms for the first time in program history Friday, then wasted little time turning the season opener just as dark for visiting Signal Mountain.
The Hurricanes whipped the heralded Eagles in every facet 55-14, setting several school records in doing so. It was the first time East Hamilton, a fourth-year program, won a game by the TSSAA's 35-point mercy rule. It was also the first time Signal Mountain failed to score at least 20 points in a game and was the Eagles' first loss by the mercy rule.
Hurricanes senior running back Logan Jackson set school records with 185 yards and five touchdowns.
"We got our butts beat by a much better team than us, that's about it," Eagles coach Bill Price said. "They out-hit us, outplayed us and took it to us all night.
"We're playing eight sophomores so we'll be a better team as the season goes, but we just got whipped tonight."
On the fourth play of the game, Eagles quarterback Reese Phillips had a pass deflected into the air and East Hamilton's Tre Herndon intercepted it, returning it to the Eagles' 30. It took just one play for Jackson to burst through for the game's first touchdown.
After holding Signal Mountain on three plays to force a punt, the Hurricanes' offense went back to work quickly as Jackson turned a third-and-2 play into his second TD of the game, this time covering 35 yards. East Hamilton forced a fumble two plays later, and Jackson found the end zone in just two plays from 23 yards away.
At that point the Hurricanes had scored three TDs in just six plays and had the Eagles reeling.
"That interception seemed to get us all pretty hyped up, especially when we scored right away after it," Herndon said. "We have worked hard all week on defense and stopping them, because we knew what our offense could do."
Even after Signal Mountain cut the deficit to 20-7 with a 10-play, 65-yard drive capped by Phillips' 5-yard toss to Harrison Moon, East Hamilton countered with six-play, 77-yard scoring drive of its own. That was the first of four unanswered TDs by the Hurricanes and when Signal finally found the end zone again, East Hamilton answered right back when Tony Francois returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a score.
Seven of East Hamilton's eight TDs covered more than 20 yards as they rolled up 364 total yards with a balanced 181 rushing and 183 passing. Aside from Jackson's big night, junior quarterback Hunter Moore completed all eight passes and two touchdowns.
"We were clicking with about everything we tried offensively," Hurricanes coach Ted Gatewood said. "Hunter made some big-time throws, and Logan was just lights-out."