The East Hamilton Hurricanes rolled into Howard School ready for anything.
They delivered with a little bit of everything.
East Hamilton won its eighth straight game Friday -- an impressive 48-8 District 6-AA defeat of the Hustlin' Tigers.
It was relentless, efficient and thorough.
"Whatever is written about them is the truth," Howard coach Michael Calloway said. "That's a very good football team having a great season."
After a three-and-out on their first possession, the Hurricanes (9-1, 7-0) scored on seven consecutive possessions.
"The big thing we've been talking about is finishing," East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood said. "Finishing plays, finsihing drives. Howard has a lot of playmakers, and we didn't want them to get going and start making things happen."
The East Hamilton defense got Gatewood's message. An endless wave of Hurricanes harassed and hassled the Hustlin' Tigers (2-8, 2-5) from the start. Howard gained 4 yards on its first six possessions, including net-0 yards on its first nine carries.
"We weren't looking ahead," Hurricanes linebacker Harrison Warren, said referring to next week's state playoffs. "We wanted to get through the season first and play hard."
With the defense playing hard and hardly giving ground, the Hurricanes offense was overpowering. After the three-and-out, Logan Jackson scored touchdowns on two of the next four East Hamilton snaps, covering 53 and 21 yards for a 14-0 lead. Hunter Moore's 44-yard strike to Jacob Noorbergen and Lamond Greer's 10-yard run capped a 14-play stretch that included four TDs. Two more Greer scoring runs pushed the margin to 41-0.
"It was really important for us to come out and keep this momentum," said East Hamilton lineman Francisco Rodriguez, who had a tackle for loss. "Our main goal has been to get to the playoffs all year, but we wanted to finish this the right way."
And even when Howard found success -- Terrance Brooks' swing pass to super-quick wideout Chris Walton became a 71-yard TD -- East Hamilton answered with force. And quickly.
Tony Francois returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards, and Matt Milita scored on a 22-yard run a play later to close the scoring.
"They bounce back. They're just a tough football team," Calloway said. "Even when you make a play, they fire right back."
The Hurricanes will learn their postseason path today when the TSSAA bracket is released. East Hamilton, ranked No. 2 in the TFP Power Poll and No. 3 in Class 4A in Tennessee, has done all it can to state an impressive case.
"We have been looking toward this for four years," said Warren, one of 23 seniors on the team. "The coaches have really done a great job of keeping us together and working toward the finish."
East Hamilton finished with style. Today it starts anew.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...