16 - 9Full Time
HAMILTON CITY — Both Hamilton and Central Valley used the word adversity to describe what they went through before and during the Falcons’ 16-9 victory Friday night.
After the Braves took a 9-0 lead into halftime, the response for the Falcons became, how would they respond to such adversity?
The question loomed as CV tried to get in an offensive rhythm to begin the third quarter, after running only 17 offensive plays during the first half. Just four plays into the drive, however, Hamilton’s Mario Velazquez recovered a CV fumble, the fifth such fumble and second turnover for the Falcons.
But CV forced the Braves to punt, and as a result of a CV penalty on the return, the Falcons began at their own 1-yard line. On just the third play of the ensuing drive, quarterback Kevin Seaman flipped the ball to Willie Mowry on an option, and Mowry found space up the right sideline for a 73-yard touchdown.
All of 11 seconds later, CV’s Richard Haynes picked off a Hamilton pass around the 30-yard line and returned it for a go-ahead touchdown and followed it up with a two-point conversion. The Falcons’ 16-9 lead, which took a matter of seconds to manufacture, held up until the final whistle.
“I’m super proud, like I said, (of) the way they played, the way they battled back,” CV head coach Aaron Richards said. “Tonight when adversity struck, we looked at each other and we said, ‘enough is enough.’ (We) got it done.”
The Braves (1-4) moved across midfield to begin the fourth quarter, but were dealt their own misfortune when third-string quarterback Jared Strong exited the game with an injury. Down three quarterbacks, and a starting center due to injury, the Braves called on Luis Hinojosa to take snaps.
Hinojosa picked up 31 yards on 3rd and 25 with his legs, moving down to the CV 30-yard line.
But the Falcons (2-3) defense forced negative runs on two of the next three Hamilton plays, prompting another Braves punt.
“They came to play. They really wanted it,” Hamilton head coach Matt Jarvis said. “These guys went through some adversity throughout the week … At the end of the day, it might sound cliche, but that’s what it’s about.”
When CV got the ball back with 6 minutes, 29 seconds left, the Falcons worked to run down the clock. But as the clock ticked under four minutes, another Falcons fumble, this time scooped up by Hamilton’s Jose Padilla, gave the Braves a final chance.
“Offensively, we’re going to continue to get better,” Richards said. “We’re running a scheme that takes a lot of reps, and we started running it four weeks ago … We’ve got to control the ball better. We fumbled the ball too much.”
Two run plays gained four yards, before an incomplete pass on third down put Hamilton in a 4th-and-6 situation with 1:22 left. Mowry sealed the win with an interception on the next play.
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“We were desperate for a win,” Richards said. “It’s miserable when you keep racking up these losses. These kids, they didn’t pack it in, they didn’t quit.”
In the first quarter, Hinojosa kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Braves a 3-0 lead. Into the second quarter, the Braves controlled the tempo with a 13-play, 63-yard drive with a heavy dose of Velazquez, Strong and Ethan Lopez runs. The Braves scored on a Miguel Hernandez-O’Rear 1-yard touchdown run on 4th and goal.
“As a coach, (I’m) super happy,” Jarvis said. “I wish we could’ve got the win for these guys, because, I mean, they play hard for each other.”
Central Valley 16, Hamilton 9
C. Valley * 0 * 0 *16 * 0 * — * 16
Hamilton * 3 * 6 * 0 * 0 * — * 9
H — Hinojosa 29 field goal, 5:20.
H — Hernandez-O’Rear 3 run (kick blocked), 5:28.
CV — Mowry 73 run (Seaman run), 5:21.
CV — Haynes 32 interception return (Manriquez pass from Seaman), 5:10.
Rushing — Central Valley, Mowry 4-73, Seaman 10-68, Manriquez 9-50, Farr 2-44, McEwen 3-23. Hamilton, Velazquez 24-65, Hinojosa 3-28, Strong 7-22, Lopez 8-18, Hernandez-O’Rear 1-3.
Passing — Central Valley, Seaman 2-4-0-6, Mowry 0-3-0-0. Hamilton, Strong 2-7-2-58, Hinojosa 0-2-1-0.
Receiving — Central Valley, McEwen 1-4, Manriquez 1-2. Hamilton, Hinojosa 1-40, Rodriguez 1-9.
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