On a bit of an unusual night that saw the game conclude in an empty stadium, Triton’s varsity football team celebrated Homecoming by winning a 38-6 rout over All American 3-A/4-A Conference opponent Westover on Friday night.
“We came out hot,” said Triton coach Ben Penny. “The guys answered the call, because we did not have a good week of practice with three players out on the offensive line and our center, who pretty much makes all the calls and audibles. It was tough this week trying to get through and piece together what we were coming out here with. Logan (Morgan) took control of the offense at center and had a fantastic game. There were some things that are going to happen when you’ve got a group of guys that haven’t played together all year and Westover, they got us a couple of times. But for the most part, our guys did great. The hot start helped us and when we lost momentum, we just challenged them to get it back and that’s what they did.”
Senior J.J. Cowan ran for 167 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and senior Camauri McDougald ran for 73 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and had two receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown to lead the Hawks (4-2, 2-1 AAC).
Alan Hinson completed 2-of-4 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. A.J. Dewar ran for 20 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Malachi Harris-Daye ran for 13 yards and a touchdown on two carries. Ahmad Morris ran for six yards on six carries. Senior kicker Christian Siliezar was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points and made his lone field goal attempt from 37 yards out.
Penny was pleased with the leadership of Triton’s seniors in the game.
“I challenged those guys to be leaders,” Penny said. “We were thin up front and had some guys out of position. K.J. Lockamy came from the defensive side and unselfishly volunteered to play the offensive line. And I told the backs, ‘You’ve got to lead, you’ve got to be positive, and you’ve got to go get yours tonight. And they did. They helped each other out when they needed to. Special group and this is their last homecoming and they took control and did a great job. I can’t say enough about their leadership.”
Sophomore Ja’Don Rourk ran for 36 yards on three carries and had five receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown and freshman Richard Vanderhorst completed 4-of-10 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions, to lead the Wolverines (3-3, 0-3).
Triton held Westover to a three-and-out on the first possession of the game. A bad snap on the punt gave the Hawks the ball on the Westover three-yard-line. It took just one play for Dewar to power into the end zone to put the Hawks on the board.
Later in the quarter, Triton scored again on a 10-yard Cowan run.
The ensuing possession ended with a punt blocked by Jamarcus Shaw, leading to Hinson connecting with McDougald for a 23-yard score.
Triton scored once in the second quarter on a 20-yard McDougald run to lead 28-0 at halftime.
Westover scored its lone touchdown early in the third quarter on a screen pass from Vanderhorst to Rourk that went 80 yards to the end zone, but the conversion attempt failed.
Triton was held on third down on the ensuing possession, but Siliezar made a 37-yard field goal.
Early in the fourth quarter, the game was halted and an announcement was made for fans to clear the stadium, due to incidents that occurred either in the stands or around the stadium. After a delay of nearly 20 minutes, the players returned to the field to complete the game in an otherwise empty stadium.
Triton scored in the fourth late in the fourth on a two-yard run from Harris-Daye.
The ensuing Westover possession ended with a punt blocked and recovered by Mekhai Warren. Triton was then able to run out the clock.
Penny was pleased with the play of his reserves that came in at the end of the game.
“That was great to see,” Penny said. “Not only when guys can come in and do their job and their responsibilities to preserve a lead, but also make some big-time plays. It was fun to see. Mekhai on the block, that’s something he’s going to remember forever. And Jacob Hamilton coming up with a big tackle for loss, that was great.”
Triton travels to conference and county rival Western Harnett (0-6, 0-3) and Westover is at home against conference opponent Overhills (2-4, 2-1) on Friday.
“We’ve got to heal up,” Penny said. “Western Harnett, we can’t take them lightly. No matter what their record is, no matter what their scores are, they’re going to come to play against Triton.”