Prep football: Hamilton vows to ‘keep pounding’ despite 0-4 start

Hamilton’s Maleek Kaiser makes an interception on an extra-point attempt during a 40-6 loss to visiting Fairfield on Sept. 7 at Virgil Schwarm Stadium. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

caption arrowCaption
Hamilton’s Maleek Kaiser makes an interception on an extra-point attempt during a 40-6 loss to visiting Fairfield on Sept. 7 at Virgil Schwarm Stadium. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Mason High School football coach Brian Castner called Hamilton “the best 0-4 team” he’s ever seen.

The Comets won’t be overlooking the Big Blue when the teams meet Friday at Virgil Schwarm Stadium.

Mason (3-1, 2-0 Greater Miami Conference) is off to strong start with a lone loss to La Salle. Three of Hamilton’s losses were decided by 11 points or less, including one-score losses at Oak Hills and Anderson in which the Big Blue gave up the game-winning touchdown in the final three minutes of both games.

WEEK 5 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Explore» Simpson taking his Middies to face reeling Princeton
Explore» Lakota East picks up forfeit victory, braces for Fairfield
Explore» Edgewood-Harrison SWOC showdown has shootout potential
Explore» Pelgen’s big numbers part of Madison’s defensive strength
Explore» Here’s five local Week 5 matchups to keep an eye on

“They’ve caught a couple bad breaks, and things just haven’t been going their way,” Castner said. “They have good team speed. They are young in some areas and that’s definitely obvious in some spots, but they’ve become a more disciplined team. Not just as games go by, but over the years. Sooner or later it’s going to click for them, and we don’t want to be the team caught on the other side of that.”

Hamilton coach Chad Murphy said bystanders wouldn’t know his team is winless if they just watched the Big Blue practice.

Despite the shortcomings, the attitude has remained positive and energetic. Hamilton’s only bad loss was to Fairfield (40-6) and the team is anxious to not just have some close games, but to get some wins.

“We realize other than the Fairfield loss we could easily be sitting at 3-1 right now just like Mason,” Murphy said. “We’ve gotten in our own way. We played good football despite playing 10 sophomores and a freshman.

“We had opportunities to win — three of our losses we’ve been in the game with opportunities to win. It just hasn’t happened. It’s frustrating obviously, but we just have to keep pounding. The kids have a wonderful attitude. It’s been unreal. They just keep working, showing up. They realize we’re close and that’s driving their hunger, and we’ll be ready to play a heck of a Mason team Friday.”

Whereas Hamilton has struggled to finish out games, the Comets have shown they can close the door on opponents. They held off Springboro in a 10-6 win in the opener and are coming off a 30-27 overtime win over Sycamore, helped by a 53-yard touchdown run by Logan Dalton with 4:44 left in regulation to tie it.

Dalton finished with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns and leads the team with 433 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 73 carries. Nolan McCormick adds 355 yards and three scores on 53 carries.

“We entered the season inexperienced — not necessarily young,, but inexperienced,” Castner said. “What we’ve done that I’m excited about is continue to grow in multiple areas. From scrimmage No. 1 to going into Game 5 we’ve seen the growth in all phases.

“Offensively we couldn’t score touchdowns early, but now we are putting on points. Logan stepped up and did a lot of things last week by running hard, and special teams has had some lengthy field goals and covered well. Our defense graduated eight starters and only three returning, but we’re holding teams to under 20, under 10 points. We’re doing some good stuff.”

Murphy said his defense has to be ready to stop the run against Mason, but the focus is still on the growth he needs to see from his players.

Hamilton running back Keyshawn Stephens hopes to be back to 100 percent after being a little limited in his return from injury last week, but junior quarterback/cornerback Khaliyal Sowell remains questionable this week.

“It comes down to execution,” Murphy said. “We just have to play more consistent football and hang on to momentum when we get it. We just need to keep battling and the wins will come.”

Friday’s game

What: Mason (3-1, 2-0 GMC) at Hamilton (0-4, 0-2 GMC), 7 p.m.

Where: Virgil Schwarm Stadium, 1165 Eaton Ave., Hamilton

Series: Mason leads 6-2 and has won the last five meetings, including 32-7 in 2017

About the Author