Anyone familiar with Hampton High's football tradition realizes this year's edition is not vintage Crabbers. It's one of the youngest teams Mike Smith has had in his 39 seasons, and its consistency has reflected that.
That said, Hampton looks to be taking steps as the regular season winds down. Friday night's 28-3 win over Kecoughtan was a solid, if unspectacular, performance that strengthened the Crabbers' playoff scenario.
"We've been playing good defense," receiver/cornerback Dion Futch said. "We worked hard this week on defense and even harder on offense since we didn't score last week. And tonight, we came out and got some scores."
Coming off last week's 17-0 loss to Phoebus, Hampton (6-3, 5-3 Peninsula District) took a 21-0 lead on quarterback David Watford's keeper with 4:40 remaining in the second quarter. And after surviving a first-and-goal for the Warriors at the 1-yard line just before halftime, the Crabbers held on.
"We can't muscle up with too many people up front," Smith said. "But our kids played hard, and they worked hard all week. They deserved to win."
Hampton came in rated seventh in the Eastern Region Division 5, one-tenth of a point behind Churchland. The Truckers beat Maury 31-9 Friday night.
Hampton converted five of its first six chances on third down. Three of those resulted in touchdowns – Watford to Jason Manago for 29 yards, Watford to Futch for 38 yards, and Watford on a 3-yard run.
Futch's touchdown was everything that is expected of him when he gets some space. On third-and-20, he caught a screen from Watford a step behind the line of scrimmage. Three Kecoughtan defenders were waiting for him.
None of them touched him. In a flash, he was gone down the right sideline.
"Before the play, I told the line to give me some blocks and I'd get a touchdown," Futch said. "I got what I needed and I scored."
Watford had a pretty accurate night by hitting on 10-of-12 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns. On third down in the first half, he completed 3-of-3 for 87 yards and ran once for 32 yards.
"He throws a nice ball when he sticks in there," Smith said. "He needs to settle down in the pocket a little more. He bailed out a couple of times too early."
After Watford's touchdown run made it 21-0, he fumbled at the Crabber 43-yard line to give Kecoughtan (4-5, 4-4) an opening. After three first downs, the Warriors had a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The problem was, only 15 seconds remained.
Kecoughtan called its last timeout, and as the Warriors broke the huddle they had only 10 players. Running back Mike McClary then sprinted onto the field and the play was blown dead for a false start.
Pushed back to the 6, Kecoughtan went with a sweep to McClary. He was stopped for no gain and the clock ran out.
The Warriors took the second-half kickoff and scored their only points, which came on a 40-yard field goal by Kyle Lawrence. Hampton got its final touchdown on Kavon Bellamy's 3-yard run with 4:08 left.
HAMPTON 28, KECOUGHTAN 3
Hampton 71407 — 28
Kecoughtan 0030 — 3
Ham: Manago 29 pass from Watford (Hutcheson kick)
Ham: Futch 38 pass from Watford (Hutcheson kick)
Ham: Watford 2 run (Cass kick)
Kec: Lawrence FG 40
Ham: Bellamy 3 run (Hutcheson kick)
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