High School Football Spotlight: Hamilton @ Perry

Arizona high school football’s now-antiquated Cinderella story to this point in the year, the Perry Pumas came stumbling into this matchup having lost their previous 2 games, following their best start in school history (4-0). On the visiting side, it would be the 7-time State Champions, the perrenial title contenders, the Hamilton Huskies who were looking for their seventh win in a row (6-0). Hamilton, as they have against just about every team that they play, had owned this matchup in years past, in fact having never lost to the Perry Pumas. However, after their galvanizing start to the season, there had been a lot of buzz around Perry that this team very well may be the best in their school’s history–and if there was any team that was finally going to be able to take down Hamilton, it was this one.

And from the flip of the coin, it sure seemed that way.

Perry head coach, Preston Jones elected to receive the opening kick, hoping to give his team an early advantage. Doing his best to make Coach Jones look smart, Perry QB (one of three who played in this game), Gabe Tomaszewski almost effortlessly led the Pumas down the field to open up the scoring with a 12-yard keeper to give the Pumas their first lead on Hamilton in school history. Clearly, this was a feat in and of itself. But Hamilton head coach, Steve Belles made sure that his top-notch defense didn’t let this become a trend.

Sure enough, this would end up being the last time that the Perry Pumas saw the light of day. On the ensuing possession, Coach Belles’s Huskies asserted themselves with a 60-yard Travis Lockhart to Chance Brewington touchdown on their second play from scrimmage.

Now knotted up at 7, it would be all Hamilton from this point on. Perry struggled to move the football for nearly the entirety of the first half, and that opened up the floodgates for Hamilton. On the Huskies next possession, they marched deep into Puma territory, only to be stalled at the 24-yard line. It wouldn’t matter for Coach Belles however, as his team was moving the ball so well that he (rightfully so) elected to go for it on 4th and 3. Just two plays later, Hamilton would take the lead, as Austin Lowe barrelled into the end zone from 5 yards out to give the Huskies a 14-7 lead.

Tack on a 33-yard field goal, courtesy of Hamilton’s Dylan Brown, and the score would be 17-7 Hamilton after the first quarter of play.

From the moment the flags dropped for Quarter #2, Hamilton would continue to pour it on. Michael Parenti, who played for Perry last year and has since transferred to Hamilton, had a nice homecoming as he scored in his return to Perry High School from 1 yard out, adding 7 more nails to the coffin.

Just minutes later, Hamilton would march down the field and reach the end zone again, this time with Rashad Williams toting the rock, and scoring a 5-yard touchdown. 

Then, for the first time in 20 game-minutes, the Perry Pumas showed signs of life. Now in a 30-7 hole, the Pumas marched all the way down to Hamilton’s 16-yard line, this time with the sophomore, Brock Purdy in at QB. All of a sudden, with a minute to play in the half, any hopes that Perry had of winning this game were now clinging on a 4th and 6 situation. Coach Jones elected not only to go for it here, but to shoot for the stars. Throwing end zone, Purdy’s pass, and the Pumas drive, would end up barely incomplete, leaving the halftime score at 30-7 Huskies.

In the 3rd Quarter, Austin Lowe opened up the scoring for Hamilton with his 2nd touchdown of the night, this one a one-yarder, as Hamilton continued to pour it on, the score now being 38-7.

On the last scoring play of the 3rd quarter, Perry finally ended their scoring drought with a 3-yard rushing touchdown now making the score 38-14.

It wouldn’t be long before Hamilton reestablished their dominance however, as Travis Lockhart completed his 2nd touchdown pass of the night, this one caught by Kwamie Lassiter from 33 yards out.

On Perry’s next possession, they raked in the last of their points for the night. Brock Purdy was looking 32 yards downfield for Nate James, and he caught him in stride for a touchdown.

Hamilton then broke out the 50s, as Travis Lockhart secured his 3rd touchdown of the night and his 2nd to Lance Brewington, making the score 51-21.

But believe it or not, the Huskies were not done yet. Coach Steve Belles’s team would score one more touchdown. This time Jawhar Jordan provided the final blow, catching a 41-yard touchdown pass from the backup QB, Austin Bell, giving the Hamilton Huskies an absolutely dominant victory with a final score of 58-21.

Coach Belles made sure to spread the love on this night, as 7 different players added touchdowns to their resumes, with the QB, Travis Lockhart leading the pack with 3 of those.

With the loss, Perry falls to 4-3, having lost 3 consecutive games following their 4-0 start.

With the win, Hamilton now moves on to 7-0, asserting themselves once again as a force to be reckoned with in Division One High School Football.

About Steven Cusumano

Host and co-host of “The Sports Mafia,” Sunday Mornings 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Journalism at Arizona State University. Voice of high school sports on 88.7 and 90.7 fm.