So this is what it is like when the No. 1-ranked team in Arizona looks average
Of course, turning the football over will make the game tough for even the very best teams.
But top-ranked Hamilton was still able to rely on its defense Friday en route to a 37-7 win over Desert Vista.
In picking up the critical road victory, Hamilton overcame four first-half fumbles (five turnovers total in the game), three by quarterback Colby Harris. Two fumbles came on poor pitches and the other as Harris was stripped at the Desert Vista 10-yard line.
Does coach John Wrenn like the way his team handled the adversity?
“We dealt with it OK, but I'm frustrated,'' Huskies coach John Wrenn said. “I don't get it.''
Hamilton didn't have a problem moving the football against the Desert Vista defense. The Huskies just couldn't keep the football long enough to get into the end zone. Harris rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown and threw for 156 more and another score.
The Huskies (5-0) found it's not easy to put mistakes behind you.
“It's tough to forget about them when everyone is telling you to forget about it,'' Harris said. “We haven't been tested like that in the first quarter. I think that will eventually help us.”
Running back Cody Engelbrecht, averaging 89 yards through four games, had 96 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
Hamilton's first touchdown came thanks to the defense when Andy Workman returned an interception 51 yards for the score.
Thunder quarterback Gerell Robinson had his problems with the Huskies' secondary. The 6-foot-4 sophomore was picked off twice in the first half. He ended up 3-of-12 for 52 yards and two interceptions. Intentional hyphenation Desert Vista tied the score on the first play of the second quarter when a Harris fumble popped straight up in the air. The Thunder's Aaron Ihrke grabbed the football and raced 46 yards for the touchdown.
Hamilton closed out the half with an 8-yard scoring run by Harris and a 39-yard touchdown reception by Kerry Taylor. That score came with 26 seconds left in the first half.
The Huskies dominated the second half thanks to the defense. Desert Vista (2-3) had only one first down after intermission and didn't come close to scoring.
Through five games, Hamilton's defense is allowing less than 10 points per game.
“The defense is great,'' Wrenn said.
The offense is something else for the two-time defending state champions.