Carmel Valley, Calif. - It may not have been pretty, but Hamilton is better off after the first week than it was a year ago.
Instead of starting with two losses as the Division I defending-champion Huskies did in 2012, they started strong, staggered a bit but hung on for a 28-17 victory over Eastlake (Calif.) on Saturday in the Brothers In Arms Classic at Cathedral Catholic High.
Hamilton scored all 28 of its points in the first half, but never scored again after fumbling the second-half kickoff.
“Tale of two halves," Hamilton coach Steve Belles said. "We played fantastic in the second quarter. It’s all about competing. (Eastlake) showed why they were so good last year. The way we played the second half can be a positive going forward into next week’s tough game against Brophy because we’ll have to play better to compete there."
Tyrell Smith got the offense rolling with a one-yard touchdown run with 7:07 left in the opening quarter. Smith’s two-point conversion run failed. That six-play, 53-yard drive was set up by a fumble recovery.
On its first drive of the second quarter, the Huskies used 10 plays to go 56 yards, pushing the lead to 13-0 when quarterback Sam Sasso hit Brandon Krcilek on a 3-yard touchdown pass.
Hamilton scored two more times before halftime for a 28-0 lead.
"It’s better to be 1-0, and that’s all that is important considering we started last year with an 0-2 record," Belles said. "We killed drives at times and we need to find more consistency over four quarters. We leave here knowing we have room to work on. If we’re like this in Week 14, we'd be in sad shape, but we have time to get it right."
Sasso threw his second TD of the first half, a 10-yard toss to tight end Chad Nelson, with 2:41 left before halftime.
The final score came on a reverse to wide receiver Elijah Williams from 12 yards out with 32 seconds remaining before intermission. Williams’ touchdown was set up by yet another fumble recovery.
“The first half we came out strong,’’ said Sasso. “Hey, we got the win. It was frustrating watching the second half and not being able to anything about it. We know what we’re doing. Sometimes it only takes one play to get it going. We didn’t get that play in the second half."
To say the Huskies overwhelmed Eastlake, the San Diego Section Division I champion in 2012, would be an understatement in the earlygoing.
They piled up 264 total yards. Sasso was 8-for-9 passing for 82 yards and two TDs - to 26 yards for the Titans. By game’s end, though, the advantage was 383-172.
Eastlake finally scored on Aeden Johnson’s 33-yard field goal in the third quarter and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Isiah Olave hauled in a 35-yard scoring toss from Justin Scott with 9:29 to play and Isiah Strayhorn rumbled 15 yards for the final score with 5:54 to play.
Hamilton 28, Eastlake (Calif.) 17
Hamilton 6 22 0 0 -- 28
Eastlake 0 0 3 14 -- 17
H - Smith 1 run (run failed)
H - Krcilek 3 pass from Sasso (Krcilek kick)
H - Nelson 10 pass from Sasso (Sosinski pass from Sasso)
H - Williams 12 run (Krcilek kick)
E - FG Johnson 33
E - Olave 35 pass from Scott (Johnson kick)
E - Strayhorn 15 run (Johnson kick)
First Downs: Ham 18, Eastlake 13
Rushing: Ham 33-191, Eastlake 21-89
Passing (Comp-Att.-Yds-TD-INT): Ham 14-22-192-2-2, Eastlake 8-18-83-1-2
Fumbles-lost: Ham 3-2, Eastlake 3-1
Penalties-yards: Ham 7-61, Eastlake 1-15