Logan-Led East Hamilton Shellacks Signal Mountain, 55-14
Hurricanes Back Roars for 176 Yards, Five Touchdowns In Opener
Friday, August 17, 2012
- by Larry Fleming
How’s that for a scintillating opening game.
5in 0.0001pt 0in; ">East Hamilton tailback Logan Jackson rushed for 176 yards and five touchdowns, Tony Francois returned a kickoff 84 yards for a score, quarterback Hunter Moore completed all eight of his passes, including two for touchdowns to Cody Knox, and the Hurricanes demolished Signal Mountain, 55-14, Friday night before a beyond-capacity crowd on Hurricane Hill.
The 41-point loss was the worst in Signal Mountain’s short four-year history of varsity football.
“We got our butt whipped,” Eagles coach Bill Price said. “They’re a good football team. We’ve got a bunch of youngster and they wore us out.”
The much-anticipated opener, pitting two of the best teams in Chattanooga, drew a tremendous crowd that filled the stands, ringed the field and spilled over onto a hillside behind the home stands.
And the Hurricanes delivered the biggest win in the short four-year history of the program.
“We schedule games like this because we want to challenge ourselves,” East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood said. “In order to get where we want to go, and that’s the playoffs, we have to take care of competitive teams. Bill is a heck of coach and you just don’t expect to do this against one of his teams.”
Signal Mountain had beaten East Hamilton by a combined score of 124-55 in three previous season-opening games.
East Hamilton’s 55-point production is the second-highest total the Eagles have allowed. Blackman scored 72 on them in a 37-point win last season, a year in which the Eagles had to forfeit six wins due to using an ineligible player.
The Tennessee Secondary School Association sanctions handed down during the season knocked Signal Mountain out of the playoffs a year after it went undefeated and won a state championship.
Jackson had a good feeling going into Friday’s game between two teams favored to win their districts.
“We came out here expecting to score a lot of points and I think we’re going to do this every time out,” he said amid the postgame celebration.
A 6-foot, 200-pound senior speedster with power when its needed, Jackson scored on runs of 30, 35 and 23 yards as the Hurricanes put the Eagles in a stunning 20-0 first-quarter hole. Signal Mountain never saw the light of day after that.
“We’ve been stressing tempo, tempo, tempo and we put some points on them quick,” Jackson said. “Their hopes went down from there and we kept them down.”
Jackson, who rushed for 996 yards last season and led the Hurricanes to the District 6-AA title and the school’s first playoff appearance, added a fourth touchdown on a 2-yard burst late in the second quarter.
The Hurricanes were in romp mode at 34-7.
His fifth touchdown, a 26-yard gallop late in the third quarter, pushed the lead to 48-7.
“That’s the most touchdowns I’ve scored in a game,” said Jackson, who came within 2 yards of outrushing the entire Eagles offense. “The offensive line did a terrific job. Everybody played good.”
On four of his scores, the Hurricanes’ offensive line opened tremendous holes and Jackson got superb downfield blocking to keep Signal Mountain’s defensive backs at bay.
“Logan did a nice job,” Gatewood said, “but our offensive line has been solid.”
After Jackson’s final touchdown, the Eagles scored on Diamez Franklin’s 2-yard run that capped an 80-yard, 12-play drive.
However, the Eagles’ elation was short-lived.
Francois, a 5-5, 160-pound junior, ended the night’s scoring by zipping 84 yards with the ensuing kickoff.
“That felt like a dream,” Francois said. “This was my first time returning the ball and the first time to score. I wish I could relive this for a long time. It was an amazing moment. I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.”
On Signal Mountain’s third offensive play, quarterback Reese Phillips’ pass was deflected by Hurricanes linebacker Harrison Warren and cornerback Tre Herndon intercepted it to set East Hamilton up at the Eagles’ 30.
Jackson wasted no time taking advantage of the turnover. He bolted the 30 yards on first down for the Hurricanes’ first score just two minutes into the game.
“Harrison tipped the ball, I saw it in the air and just made the play,” said Herndon, a 6-0, 175-pound junior. “It was the first pick of my high school career and I’m going to remember that one.”
Herndon’s play set the tone for the game.
“We went right down and scored right after that,” Gatewood said. “It was huge for us.”
Following a punt, the Hurricanes went 43 yards in three plays, Jackson taking care of the final 35 to open up a two-touchdown lead.
On the Eagles’ next possession, East Hamilton linebacker Harrison Williams recovered Robert Turner’s fumble at the Signal Mountain 22. Jackson was stopped for a 1-yard loss, but then rambled 23 yards for the touchdown.
Signal Mountain’s next drive stalled at the Hurricanes’ 22, but East Hamilton was forced to punt.
Phillips, who has committed to Kentucky, directed a 65-yard scoring, connecting with Harrison Moon on a 5-yard strike in the end zone with 8:00 left in the second quarter.
East Hamilton wasn’t about to let off the gas, though.
Moore’s 38-yard screen pass in the left flat to Knox on third-and-three capped a 77-yard, 6-play drive and restored the Hurricanes’ 20-point lead at 27-7.
Signal Mountain tried to get a first down on fourth-and-10, but Phillips, who completed 18-of-23 passes for 142 yards, was sacked by East Hamilton’s Chris Abernathy for a 6-yard loss.
The Hurricanes needed just three plays to cover the 42 yards and Jackson scored from 2 yards out, pushing the lead to 27 points.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Hurricanes went 71 yards in four plays. Moore, who passed for 182 yards, threw a quick screen to Knox, who bedeviled the Eagles’ defense on a brilliant catch-and-run down the sideline for the touchdown with 10:12 left in the period. Knox finished with three catches for 107 yards.
And at 41-7, the Hurricanes were thinking blowout.
After a Signal Mountain punt, Jackson rattled off 25 yards and the Eagles were flagged for a facemask penalty and suddenly the Hurricanes were at the 26. Jackson scored on the next play.
The Eagles still had something left, although they had precious little time to do any serious damage.
An 80-yard, 12-play drive that started in the third quarter and ended in the fourth, saw Signal Mountain had three third-down conversions, including one of 11 yards, and Franklin scored from the 2. He rushed 22 times for 104 yards.
But Francois’ kickoff return added insult to injury.
It was just East Hamilton’s night.
The Hurricanes are hoping it’s their season, too.
Signal Mountain 0 7 0 7 – 14
East Hamilton 20 14 14 7 – 55
EH – Logan Jackson 30 run (Cameron Carter kick), 10:00
EH – Jackson 35 run (Carter kick), 6:53
EH – Jackson 23 run (kick blocked), 5:52
SM – Harrison Moon 5 pass from Reese Phillips (Houston McLain kick), 8:00
EH – Cody Knox 38 pass from Hunter Moore (Carter kick), 4:46
EH – Jackson 2 run (Carter kick), 2:48
EH – Knox 53 pass from Moore (Carter kick), 10:12
EH – Jackson 26 run (Carter kick), 3:33
SM – Diamez Franklin 2 run (McLain kick), 9:20
EH – Tony Francois 84 kickoff return (Carter kick), 9:03
First Downs 14 10
Rushes-Yds. 45-177 20-168
Passing Yds. 142 182
Com.-Att.-Int. 18-23-1 8-8-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Punts.-Avg. 3-29.7 2-27.0
Penalties-Yds. 7-64 3-25
RUSHING — Signal Mountain: Diamez Franklin 22-104, Robert Turner 14-47, Reese Phillips 2-13, Cale Shelton 4-9, Ben Philyaw 3-4; East Hamilton: Logan Jackson 16-176, Dallas Hammond 1-6, Team 1-minus 1, Lamond Greer 1-minus 3, Matt Milita 2-minus 10.
PASSING — Signal Mountain: Reese Phillips 18-23-142-1; East Hamilton: Hunter Moore 8-8-182-0.
RECEIVING — Signal Mountain: Chris Abernathy 6-60, C.J. Johnson 3-23, Griffin Moon 2-21, Jamil Mathis 5-13, Harrison Moon 1-5; East Hamilton: Cody Knox 3-107, Tre Herndon 3-38, Austin Gatewood 1-30, Matt Milita 1-6.
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)