BY WAYNE PHILLIPS
SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS
The annual battle of the "dawgs" went the way of Hampton Friday night as the Bulldogs unleashed a hefty ground attack and rolled to a 39-20 victory over the North Greene Huskies at The Tundra in Baileyton, spoiling Homecoming festivities at the school.
Hampton broke the game open by scoring two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the first half, pulling from a slender 14-6 advantage to take a 26-6 halftime lead and never looked back, although the scrappy Huskies made things more interesting by tacking on a pair of fourth quarter scores.
The Bulldogs rushed for 311 yds. in the game and on defense they intercepted three Tyler Bailey passes, returning one for a score and setting up two more touchdowns with returns deep into North Greene territory.
The victory pushed Hampton to 2-0 in Region 1-A, 3-3 overall, while the Huskies are now 1-2 in league play and 1-5 overall. Both teams continue regional action next Friday as North Greene pays a visit to league co-leader Cloudland while Hampton is home to Cosby. Cloudland, Hampton and South Greene are all 2-0 in the region.
Hampton took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yds. in eight plays to get on the board quickly as talented freshman Adam McClain scored on a 29-yd. run. McClain rushed for 94 yds. on eight carries in the first half before leaving with an apparent ankle injury. Big lineman Boo Dugger knocked through the extra point to put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 7:56 left in the opening quarter.
The Huskies picked up a pair of first downs before the Bulldogs came up with their first pick of the night. Dillon Ford intercepted a Tyler Bailey pass at the NG 45 and returned it down the sideline for a touchdown. Dugger's PAT had the Bulldogs up 14-0 with still 5:09 left in the first period.
North Greene's defense came through with a big stop early in the second frame, holding Hampton on a fourth down play from the 16 when Luke White and Joseph Willett teamed up to knock down Hampton's Jacob Smith on a rush short of the needed yardage.
Later in the second period, Hampton was forced to punt and it appeared Tyler Ricker got a hand on the punt and it squirted out of bounds at the Hampton 44, only 7 yds. from the line of scrimmage for the punt.
The Huskies were able to take advantage as Bailey came through with his first of three touchdown passes on the night. Facing a fourth down and six from the Hampton 40, he found Brett Bolton behind the Bulldog secondary and lobbed one into his waiting arms. Bolton rambled in for the score. The PAT kick by Bailey was wide left but the Hampton lead had been shaved to 14-6.
A long kickoff return covering 51 yds. by Ford put the Bulldogs in great shape at the NG 31, but they fumbled the ball away inside the NG 10-yd. line with Willett recovering for the Huskies.
But Hampton got the turnover back when Coby Jones stepped in front of a would-be North Greene receiver at the 20 and returned it to the 1-yd. line, where Tristan Robinson took it in on the next play for the touchdown. Hampton chose to go for two points but failed on the run, yet they held a 20-6 lead with 3:15 left.
North Greene couldn't move the ball and had to punt again before intermission and Hampton got a big score to spread the gap. A 24-yd. run by Landon Pearson set up the score, and Pearson took it in from the 1-yd. line with only 45 seconds left until halftime to give the Bulldogs a 26-6 advantage after the two-point conversion pass failed.
Hampton really solidified the outcome by scoring on their first possession of the third quarter, a 52-yd. drive in 9 plays highlighted by a 10-yd. touchdown run by Robinson. Again the two-point conversion pass failed but the Bulldogs were up 32-6.
The third pick of the night, this one by Jacob Smith, came shortly after and the Bulldogs put another six on the board when quarterback Coby Jones hit Caleb West on a 26-yd. pass play. Dugger kicked the point-after for a 39-6 lead with 3:07 left in the third.
The lengthy game, which took three hours to play, dragged on in the fourth quarter as penalties and incomplete passes kept the clock moving slowly.
North Greene made it respectable and refused to quit as Bailey threw a pair of touchdown passes in the quarter, one of 46-yds. to Dawson Russell and one of 6-yds. to Bolton, his second TD reception of the night.
The long pass to Russell had the receiver reeling in the catch about the 20-yd. line, but he used a couple of spin moves to shed tacklers twice and made it to the end zone. Bailey tacked on the PAT.
North Greene then used a squib kick on the kickoff and got the ball back after Hampton couldn't field it. Bolton made a diving stab for the catch in the corner of the end zone from 6-yds. out. Bailey's PAT cut the gap to 39-20 with 4:35 left in the contest.
The Huskies never got the ball back on offense as Hampton picked up a couple of first downs to run out the clock.
In addition to McClain's 94 yds. in the first half, Pearson rushed for 77 yds. and Jake Lyons added 64 to lead the Hampton rushing attack. The Bulldogs finished with 371 yds. of offense.
North Greene got 43 yds. rushing from Zane Britton and 19 from Bailey for 62 total rushing yards. Bailey hit 10-of-23 passes for 123 yds. and three touchdowns with three interceptions. Russell was top receiver with three catches for 65 yds. Britton had four receptions for 14 yds. Both of Bolton's receptions were for touchdowns.
Hampton was flagged 15 times in the game for 94 yds. The Huskies absorbed eight flags for 32 yds.
In pregame festivities, Mendy McNeese was crowned Homecoming Queen, with Kelly Mrock as first runnerup and Jessie Carey as second runnerup.
Hampton 14 12 13 0--39
North Greene 0 6 0 14--20
Ham -- Adam McClain, 29-yd. run (Boo Dugger kick)
Ham -- Dillon Ford, 55-yd. interception return (Dugger kick)
NG -- Brett Bolton, 40-yd. pass from Tyler Bailey (kick failed)
Ham -- Tristan Robinson, 1-yd. run (run failed)
Ham -- Landon Pearson, 1-yd. run (pass failed)
Ham -- Robinson, 10-yd. run (pass failed)
Ham -- Caleb West, 26-yd. pass from Coby Jones (Dugger kick)
NG -- Dawson Russell, 46-yd. pass from Bailey (Bailey kick)
NG -- Bolton, 6-yd. pass from Bailey (Bailey kick)
First Downs 16 8
Pass (Att-Com-Int) 8-4-0 23-10-3
Yds. Passing 60 123
Yds. Rushing 311 62
Total Offense 371 185
Fumbles Lost 1 0
Penalties 8-32 15-94
Punt Avg. 6-38.0 1-7.0
Rushing: Ha -- Adam McClain 8-94, Landon Pearson 14-77, Jake Lyons 9-64. NG -- Zane Britton 12-43, Tyler Bailey 10-19.
Passing: Ha -- Coby Jones 8-4-60-1-0. NG -- Tyler Bailey 23-10-123-3-3.
Receiving: Ha -- Dillon Ford 3-34, Caleb West 1-26. NG -- Dawson Russell 3-65-1, Brett Bolton 2-46-2, Zane Britton 4-14, Emmett Robinson 1-(-2).