Chandler Hamilton made its share of mistakes Friday night, but the Huskies were dominant nonetheless in a 49-12 victory over host Mesa Dobson.
What might otherwise have been an unexceptional Class 5A-I nonregion game for Hamilton (3-1), though, was rendered a redemption game after the Huskies struggled in last week’s 35-16 loss to Peoria Centennial.
“There’s stuff we’ve got to work on, but it’s good to be back in the win column,” Hamilton coach Steve Belles said.
Hamilton rolled up 304 rushing yards on 35 carries and threw for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 18 pass attempts. The success on the ground was a much-needed breakthrough, given that the Huskies had rushed 53 times for only 101 yards in their last two games.
“The last two weeks we played two of the best fronts in the state,” Belles said. “(Running well) is a lot better than saying we just have to throw the ball.”
Dante Alexander ran 58 yards for a touchdown on Hamilton’s first snap, and the Huskies went on to a comfortable 35-12 lead at the half. Zachery Bauman and Alante Wright each scored twice for Hamilton, while Zakary Hambsch threw three touchdowns.
Only two interceptions of Hambsch by Dobson’s Denton Zander, a lost fumble and some unremarkable defensive play kept Hamilton from being more satisfied with its win over the Mustangs (1-4), who returned only three starters from last year.
Dobson gained 110 yards on 31 carries, even though top tailback Terrance Martin was sidelined with a sprained ankle. Junior Jordan Gruber was 14 of 23 for 130 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for a 1-yard score late in the second quarter than cut Hamilton’s lead to 28-12.
“We’ve just got to get tougher up front,” Belles said. “Our front seven has to play better. We’ve just got to improve defensively, and I don’t think anybody’s going to be happy with that.”
Dobson’s lone returning offensive starter, Tyler French, led the Mustangs with five catches for 49 yards, including a one-handed touchdown catch.
“Our kids played really hard, we’re just not consistent enough,” Dobson coach Tom DeMassa said. “Seeing that kind of speed and experience is good for us. We’ve been getting better every week and when we get consistent, we’ll be a good football team.”