By DANNY P. SMITH
MABEN – The young East Webster Wolverines proved they could play with the Class 2A, Region 2 leading Hamilton Lions for a half.
Unfortunately, there's two halves that take place in the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
After only trailing 17-7 at halftime, East Webster couldn't prevent Hamilton from putting up 28 third-quarter points. The visiting Lions put a damper on the combined homecoming and senior night for the Wolverines by dominating 52-7.
"In a strange way, they played pretty good," East Webster coach Doug Wilson said of his squad. "We didn't complete some plays that would have made it a completely different ball game. They are too good of a team to keep giving the ball back on the short side of the field.
"There were a lot of penalties and the wheels sort of fell off for us, but that's again part of our growing pains."
The Wolverines fell to 5-5 overall and 2-2 in the region, while Hamilton improved to 9-1 overall and 4-0 in the region.
After Chloe Roberson was crowned homecoming queen in pre-game ceremonies, East Webster quarterback Codie McKee passed for a pair of first downs on the opening offensive possession. The drive stalled at the Wolverines' 38-yard line.
The Lions took the football and only needed three plays to score their first touchdown of the game with 7:43 remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard run.
Hamilton's initial lead didn't hold long as on the following kickoff, East Webster's Marques Rieves broke loose on a 95-yard return to help tie the game.
The Lions did all of the scoring in the second quarter with a touchdown run and a field goal.
It didn't take Hamilton long to expand its lead in the second half as it scored on a 2-yard run after a 62-yard kickoff return that increased the margin to 24-7 with the successful kick.
"We were a little sluggish on offense (in the first half) and they were playing hard, but the guys pulled together, came out and did a good job," Hamilton head coach Ray Weeks said.
The best chance the Wolverines had to score in the third quarter was after Charles Moseley recovered a Lions fumbled punt at the 20-yard line. After a 5-yard penalty pushed the line of scrimmage back to the 25, McKee threw four-straight incomplete passes and the football was turned over on downs to the Lions.
East Webster never really threatened again.
The Wolverines could only manage 61 yards on the ground with Deangelo Liggins getting 32 of those yards on 12 carries. Codie McKee completed 6-of-20 pass attempts for 20 yards.
Along with it being homecoming at East Webster, it was also senior night for players Darius Dear, Vasquez Clark, Justin Hatcher, Codie Silver, Andy Dunn, Brennan Sparks, Dylan Henley, Charles Guyton, Drew Wofford and Jonathon Collins.
"They have represented, done well and I'm proud of them," Wilson said of the seniors. "I'll be real proud of them because we'll come back Monday and work hard because we've got a tough team next week waiting on us."
The Wolverines will close the regular season next Friday at Webster County rival Eupora.