Saturday, September 3, 2022

Gallatin's Fast Start Fuels Win Over Rival Hamilton

by Jeremy Benson,

Last year, the Gallatin Bulldogs only lost 3 games.  However, 2 of those loses were to long-time rivals Hamilton (Penney) Hornets.  New Bulldogs coach Chris Holt has not been shy about Gallatin needing to beat top KCI teams to be able to move to the next level.  And a win over Hamilton would achieve that.  This is a game that the Bulldogs had circled on their calendar since last year's loss in the district championship game.

Hamilton won the toss and decided to defer until the second half.  Hindsight is 20/20, but that might be a decision that they could be second-guessing because the very first play was a Payton Feiden 56-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.  Hamilton's first possession netted 6 yards on their first two plays to put them at 3rd and 4, but a false start moved them back 5 yards.  That forced them into throwing.  Gallatin took advantage of that with Draven Wright intercepting Hornets Quarterback Titus McBee.  He would return it 45 yards for a pick six.  He added a PAT to his own touchdown to make it 14-0.

After a Hamilton possession stalled just past midfield, Gallatin started at their own 20-yard line.  This time, Peyton Baker connected with Feiden on an 80-yard TD pass.  Gallatin committed their first mistake of the game on a bad snap on the PAT.  But with 5:16 left in the 1st quarter, Gallatin was up 20-0 after only two offensive snaps.  Coach Holt said that game planning was the key to the fast start.  According to Holt, "We thought we had an opportunity with both of those, and they both just happened to hit perfectly."

Gallatin' next possession was not as crisp on their next possession.  They had 4 penalties (5 if you don't count one that offset).  They also fumbled the ball losing 9 yards on the play.  But they showed resiliency throughout the entire drive.  Every time they were backed up, they were able to come up with a big play.  The key was a 43-yard pass on 2nd and 31 from Baker to Isaac Bird.  The two connected again on the first play of the 2nd quarter on 2nd and goal from the 16 for Baker's 2nd TD pass of the night.  A 2-pt play failed to make it 26-0.

After a Fieden interception on the next Hamilton drive set the Bulldogs up in Hornets territory, Logan Bottcher got in on the fun with a 29-yard TD run making it 33-0.  That is where it would stand at halftime.

The second half was about ball control for the Bulldogs.  They had one TD on a 28-yard run by Draven Wright, but other than one incomplete pass by back-up QB Nathan Twitchell, they ran the ball every play.  They were able to keep Hamilton out of the end zone to win the game 40-0.  Unofficially, Gallatin outgained Hamilton 379 to 148 yards in the game.

I caught up with Coach Chris Holt after the game.  I also talked with Chris Ward about the game and prospects for Gallatin and other GRC teams.  

Gallatin Stats (unofficial)

Peyton Baker, 3-5, 139 yds, 2 TD
Nathan Twitchell, 0-1

Payton Feiden, 117 yds, 1 TD
Logan Bottcher, 79 yds, 1 TD
Draven Wright, 41 yds, 1 TD
Peyton Baker, 6 yds

Payton Feiden, 80 yds, 1 TD
Isaac Bird, 59 yds, 1 TD

Draven Wright, 1 Int, 45 yds, 1 TD
Payton Feiden, 1 Int, 38 yds

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