Fresh off a 10-catch performance for 233 yards on a night where he was crowned homecoming king, Jeremiah Flemmons had some bold words about East Hamilton's wide receivers.
"I feel like this is the best receiving corps in Chattanooga," the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Flemmons said after helping the Hurricanes to a 44-27 home win over Central to take control of Region 3-4A. "Our quarterback (Lake Clark) is a dog, and so is Kaunyae Burgans. There is no one in the state I would take over Kaunyae in a one-on-one matchup on the outside."
While the Purple Pounders cut their deficit to 26-20 in the fourth quarter off an 80-yard interception return by Reginald Wadley, the Hurricanes' passing attack was ultimately too much for the visitors to overcome.
Burgans went over the top of defensive backs on multiple occasions and helped close the game with an 18-yard grab in the back right corner of the end zone on a perfectly placed ball from Clark, who had 431 yards on 23 completions. East Hamilton defensive back Ethan Beckwith sealed the deal moments later with a 50-yard pick-six to make it 38-20 with 4:51 left.
Central (4-2, 3-1) was unable to extend its streak of wins to five games despite coach Curt Jones' team outscoring East Hamilton 27-25 in the second half. Michael Watson and Noah Collins carved out big chunks in the running game for the Purple Pounders, Ronye Watson had a 66-yard touchdown pass to Tyi Mosley, and Donovan Smith added a 66-yard touchdown run late.
"Central has a good team and they feed off big plays," East Hamilton coach Grant Reynolds said. "They played hard. Kudos to them, but our kids fought like grown men tonight. We had to start a right guard who was a freshman, and he did a great job to let our offense do what we needed to do."
Burgans was unstoppable as he feasted against single coverage for 11 catches covering 189 yards and three of Clark's five touchdown passes.
"Watching film, we saw their defensive backs play man coverage," said the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Burgans. "Any time our offensive coordinator sees that on film, we like to attack that because we have a really dangerous passing game. We are never satisfied, though. Next week we want to play even better."
East Hamilton (5-1, 3-0) also had standout performances from senior defensive back Justin Lee, who had three pass deflections, and Mel McFarland, who had three tackles for loss to give him 27 this season.
Hurricanes star running back Juan Bullard helped ice the game with big runs and went over the 100-yard mark with a score.
"This is pretty cool right here," Reynolds said as his team and fans swayed to the sound of the band playing the school's alma mater after the win. "I love coaching these kids and love them. We are in the driver's seat now but have to keep getting better."