It’s time to kick off league play, and there's no better place to do that than in the Greater Miami Conference.
Our U.S. Marines Battle of the Gridiron Series makes a stop in Hamilton Friday evening. The home team hopes to derail the powerful steam train that is the Lakota East rushing attack.
The Big Blue has enough TNT in the arsenal to make this affair interesting. Hamilton is looking for a big win to get them into the playoff picture. The fans could play a major role in driving the team’s adrenalin way up. Explosive plays should ignite an entertaining night.
LAKOTA EAST THUNDERHAWKS (2-1) at HAMILTON BIG BLUE (1-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. at Virgil Schwarm Stadium
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PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Lakota East offensive line -- which consists of returning starters J.T. Timming, Nick Hofmeier, Dalton Strunk and Nick Finley -- is special. They are blowing opposing defenses off the ball at rate of 340 yards, 7.3 yards/carry and four touchdowns per game on the ground.
Junior running back Tyler Glenn has played in seven varsity games and has rushed for 93 yards or more in all of them, including 183-, 134- and 194-yard efforts already this season. He has rushed for two touchdowns in each tilt this fall.
Quarterback T.J. Jemison, running back Kaleb Lepper and Glenn all ran for more than 112 yards in last week’s victory over Northmont.
Hamilton is going to be fun to watch as the season continues on. The Big Blue have some talented skills players on offense with quarterback Steve Cunningham, running back Isaiah Murph, running back Eric Jackson, wide receiver Vince Sanford and receiver A’Shon Riggins.
Murph (7), Riggins (5) and Sanford (2) have combined for all 14 of Hamilton’s touchdowns so far in 2015.
TEAM TRENDS: The Hamilton defense is allowing opponents to convert 50 percent of their third downs, including 15 of the last 26 attempts. Lakota East is 8-2 when Jemison throws one completion or less over the last two years. They are 3-2 when he has had two or more completions in a contest over that same span.
LAKOTA EAST'S KEYS TO VICTORY: Lakota East isn’t going to pull any punches. The Thunderhawks are going to pound the football until it wears down Hamilton. It will be up to the Big Blue to answer the challenge.
HAMILTON’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Big Blue defense has to step up, third-down stops and forcing some turnovers will keep them in this affair. The potent Hamilton offense would benefit greatly by having some short fields to work with. Staying fresh on defense is a must late in this contest.
PREDICTION: LAKOTA EAST 42, HAMILTON 21