After six consecutive blowouts in the series, this one was supposed to be down to the wire. Hampton and
were both undefeated and, it appeared, unstoppable. Except that one of them would have to stop the other Friday night at Darling Stadium.
But after all the hype, and even some pre-game jawing that nearly got out of hand, it turned out to be another blowout. The Phantoms were dominant on defense and special teams and good enough on offense in a 37-12 spanking.
"I just got one thing to say," Hampton coach
said. "We got beat. They whipped us."
That pretty much sums it up. Though the Crabbers (7-1, 6-1 Peninsula District) ended up with more total yards (250-181), the game was over at halftime. And if it wasn't, Breon Key's 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the third quarter removed all doubt.
In winning its 38th consecutive game (37th in the PD), Phoebus shut down Hampton's running attack and put the clamps on quarterback
. The Crabbers rushed for 154 yards, 55 of which came on a second-quarter Kavon Bellamy run. Watford was 6-of-18 and had 125 total yards.
"The plan going in was that we wanted to contain (Watford) and not let him break containment," Phoebus coach Stan Sexton said. "He's a great athlete and our guys did a great job against him."
"Everything starts with him," Phantoms linebacker Caleb Taylor said. "We had to get to him."
How special were Phoebus' special teams? The Phantoms had 244 return yards, 170 of which came on two touchdowns by Key. Eric Enderson made a 28-yard field goal and put three of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. He also had a 41-yard punt that pinned Hampton at its 13.
"I always try to help Coach Narvid (Greg, the defensive coordinator) and the defense the best I can," Enderson said. "It helps them out on their calls. Every week we stress the importance of special teams, and tonight we came out on top."
In the first half, Hampton's average starting point was its own 18-yard line. Phoebus' was the Crabber 43. And of the 46 plays from scrimmage in the first two quarters, 40 came in Hampton territory.
Asked the importance of field position in the first half, Smith said, "we didn't have any field position."
Phoebus led 10-6 following Watford's touchdown run with 7:00 left in the second quarter, but Phoebus closed the half with 14 unanswered points. Enderson's 17-yard touchdown pass to Daquan Romero came with 2:32 remaining, and Jordan Roby threw 27 yards to Tyree Lee for a score 71 seconds later.
The electricity got started about a half-hour before kickoff. During warm-ups, Phoebus' Justin Lyles ambled past midfield and near where Hampton's players had just come out. Bellamy ran over and shoved Lyles to the ground.
The teams then began jawing, but the officials and coaches restored order before any punches were thrown.
"That fired us up," said Phoebus lineman Tevin McGougan, who had two sacks. "That was disrespect."
"We wanted them to understand we were here to play football," Sexton said.
That became clear early. Lee had 62 of his 95 yards in the first quarter. And aside from Bellamy's long run that set up their first touchdown, the Crabbers averaged 3.5 yards per rushing attempt.
PHOEBUS 37, HAMPTON 12
Hampton;0;6;0;6 – 12
Phoebus;3;21;6;7 – 37
Pho—Enderson FG 28, 4:45
Pho—Roby 1 run (Enderson kick), 11:22
Ham—Watford 7 run (kick failed), 7:00
Pho—Romero 17 pass from Enderson (Enderson kick), 2:26.
Pho—Lee 27 pass from Roby (Enderson kick), 1:03.
Pho—Key 80 kickoff return (kick blocked), 11:45.
Pho—Key 90 punt return (Enderson kick), 7:29.
Ham—Bellamy 6 run (pass failed), 4:17.