Three area teams extend prep football seasons

Hamilton, Marceline, Braymer/Breckenridge play on after Friday Ws

As reported to C-T

Three area teams extend prep football seasons

As expected, Hamilton’s Penney High School Hornets and Marceline’s Tigers extended their 2021 football seasons last Friday, each winning decisively.

Less certain, but also able to create a November contest for itself was Braymer-Breckenridge.

Although no details were reported on the contest, Braymer-Breckenridge’s Bobcats raised their record to 4-5 with a 78-42 home conquest of Pattonsburg/Gilman City/North Harrison.

That pushes the Bobcats into this Friday night’s 8-man District 3 semifinals, where the Chillicothe High School alumnus Zach Douglas-coached squad will visit St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond (9-1). That will be a 7 p.m. game at the BLHS field immediately north of the school in northeast St. Joseph.

Also in the 8-man ranks, the reign of Southwest Livingston/Hale/Tina-Avalon’s Wildcats as state champions officially ended with the Wildcats’ 60-22 district-quarterfinals loss at Orrick last Friday. Southwest, after graduating the bulk of its 2020 title team, finished this season 3-7 under new head coach Pake Croy.

Also hanging up the shoulder pads for nine months Friday were the Norborne/Hardin-Central Aggies, cuffed by host Hughesville: Northwest 42-18. The Aggies, like Southwest Livingston, went 3-7 this fall.

Hamilton: Penney 35, South Harrison 6

HAMILTON — The host Hornets (8-3) set up this Friday’s rematch with northern rival and Grand River Conference-East champion Gallatin with a workmanlike wipeout of South Harrison at PHS’ Alumni Stadium.

Twin brother transfers (from Cameron) Bryson and Ty Speer played leading roles in Hamilton’s romp. B. Speer returned an intercepted pass for a touchdown and caught a Tucker Ross toss for another six points, while T. Speer had a rushing score and the brothers combined for 10-1/2 total tackles.

Quarterback Ross rushed seven times for 152 yards and the other two Hornets  touchdowns while connecting on four of his five throws for 96 yards. B. Speer had three of the catches for 85 yards and T. Speer gained 44 yards on only three carries.

Corbin Henderson chipped in 5-1/2 tackles and freshman Titus McBee was a perfect five for five on point-after kicks.

While South Harrison’s season concluded at 6-5, Hamilton will welcome GHS’ Bulldogs (9-2) for a second time this season this Friday night at 7.

Gallatin, a 34-14 victor over fellow GRC-E member Milan last Friday, came calling at Alumni Stadium on Sept. 3 and departed with a 28-0 defeat, having surrendered over 280 yards rushing. T. Speer had 100 of those yards and two scores, while Henderson had a rushing TD and Ross threw for one.

Marceline 42, South Shelby 14

MARCELINE — Coming off a performance that left a smile on the countenance of their head coach, the Marceline High School football Tigers will seek their fourth-straight Class 1 district title and sixth in seven years Friday when they welcome Ewing’s Highland Cougars to Chester Ray Stadium for the 2021 District 6 championship contest.

It will be a second-consecutive postseason test against a foe from the generally-larger-schools Clarence Cannon Conference for Marceline (9-1). Last Friday at Ray Stadium, following a week off from game play, the healthier, heartier Tigers handled South Shelby 42-14 for their seventh triumph in succession.

“The boys played some of their best football,” pleased MHS coach Mark Ross reflected. “This is a great momentum builder for us heading into the district championship (game), facing a very talented Highland team.”

The Cougars (8-3) earned their appearance in the district final also in decisive fashion, routing MHS’ fellow Lewis and Clark Conference member Westran 38-0 at home.

Against South Shelby (4-8), Marceline spotted the Cardinals a 6-0 lead on the game’s first possession, then produced the next 28 stretching into the fourth quarter.

On the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage after the SSHS TD, senior quarterback Jacob Stallo lofted a strike to classmate Jace Bixenman running a deep seam route up the right side. The 43-yards pickup to the Cardinals’ 35 led, a few plays later, to the first of four Hunter Nelson touchdown runs. With 8:08 showing on the first-quarter clock, each team was on the scoreboard, but MHS had the lead for keeps at 7-6.

It would keep it, in part because of a huge, alert defensive play by senior defensive end Jaxon Schmitt.

With South Shelby facing third-and-9 from its own 10-yard line about four minutes after Marceline took the lead, Schmitt perfectly read a swing pass aimed for a running back circling out of the backfield to his side.

Schmitt’s alertness and flawless execution left him right between the passer and would-be receiver, meaning the ball came right to him when thrown low. Snaring it on the run at the SSHS 5, he cantered into the beckoning end zone a few steps away and, with 3:59 left in the opening period, Marceline owned a 14-6 lead after the subsequent point-after kick.

A Nelson touchdown run was the only scoring of the second period, sending the teams to the locker rooms with the hosts in solid position with a 21-6 advantage.

With the initial possession of the third quarter, the Tigers moved the ball downfield steadily until, on a play from the South Shelby 2, Bixenman, lined up in the backfield, caught a shovel pass from Stallo while moving from right to left and crashed across the goal line. With Stufflebean’s kick and 7:16 on the third-quarter clock, the gap grew to 28-6, virtually assuring there’d be no second-half slipups by the Tigers.

Statistically, Nelson carried 28 times and netted exactly 200 yards, coach Ross reports.

J. Stallo connected on 13 of his 18 throws for 177 yards and the one score. He was intercepted twice, though, Ross reports. Five of his hookups were with Bixenman, netting 97 yards.

On defense, in addition to Schmitt’s “pick six,”, he also was in eight tackles, including one sack. Nelson led the MHS tackling with 10, Ross’ report showed, while Conner Quinn made eight, including a sack, while also intercepting a South Shelby throw. Cornerback Sam Gillman chipped in a first-quarter fumble recovery.