Prep football: Big Blue looking to rise up against Sycamore

12:35 p.m Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 Journal-News Sports
Hamilton’s Elijah Spradling (20) gets a hand on Middletown running back Diondre Cooper (5) during last Friday night’s game at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown. The visiting Big Blue won 47-26. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MARITZA MCKINNEY

Homecoming would be the perfect time for Hamilton High School’s football team to pull off a victory that most would consider an upset.

“We’re trying to break through here,” said Big Blue coach Chad Murphy, looking ahead to Friday’s Greater Miami Conference game against Sycamore at Virgil Schwarm Stadium.

“In my time here, we’ve won some of the ones we were supposed to win. The key for myself as the head football coach and the key for this program is getting one of these wins that we’re not supposed to get, and this Friday night is one of them.”

HHS, 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the GMC, is coming off a 47-26 win over Middletown and has defeated two winless opponents (Oak Hills is the other). Big Blue have been outscored 137-27 in losses to Moeller, Fairmont, Mason and Colerain, who are a combined 16-8.

“You can see in the games we’re losing, we don’t score,” Murphy said. “That’s not taking care of the football and not scoring in the red zone. We put our defense in some bad situations in the four losses.

“We feel like we played how we should’ve played last week against Middletown. I feel like we gained a little bit of confidence. But we understand what we’ve got in front of us.”

The Aviators (4-2, 2-2) are coming off a 21-7 loss to Fairfield. Sycamore coach Scott Dattilo said it wasn’t a good performance by his team, so he’s not quite sure what to expect Friday.

“I’m not going to hide from it. It was a big disappointment in how we played,” Dattilo said. “We were emotionally disinterested and our execution was not where it can be, and as the head coach, I feel responsible for that. We could play well and still lose to Fairfield. But we didn’t play the brand of football that I think our recent tradition has put out.

“How we move forward is really dependent on our attitudes and our vision down the road. Last year at this point we were 2-4 and thought the season was coming to an end, and we ended up playing in the regional finals. This situation’s not nearly as bleak as that was. But we’ve got work to do.”

The Aviators defeated HHS 41-20 last year, and turnovers were huge. Big Blue had three, Sycamore none.

“We had all kinds of issues stopping them. In fact, we never really did,” Dattilo said. “We just had that bend-but-not-break sort of thing going on. They’ve got a really talented offense again this year. They’re scary, to be honest.”

Sycamore is powered by a defense that’s allowing 217.2 yards and 14 points per game. The Aviators rank last in the GMC in offensive yards per game (247.8).

Senior Tate Goodyear is a two-way factor for Sycamore at defensive end and offensive tackle. He suffered a bone bruise on his knee during the Fairfield game, but Dattilo said he’s back this week.

Goodyear (6-4, 275) declined scholarship offers from schools like Cincinnati and Iowa State to commit to Yale.

“They’re going to play great defense, and they’ve got a really, really good offensive line,” Murphy said. “They can play-action and hit some really big plays.”

Hamilton’s running game has been consistently strong, averaging 229.8 yards per contest behind Maleek Jarrett (132 carries, 679 yards, 10 TDs).

Murphy believes a little more success in the passing game will make the ground attack even better. He said senior Hosea Burnett and junior Daveon Williams are quality receivers that need to get more touches.

Sycamore has won the last four meetings in the series. Big Blue’s last triumph was 42-7 in 2010.

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