Gators glide by Hammond behind 375 rushing yards

Wade McIntyre
St. Amant’s Jaylin LeBlanc (4) returns a punt 14 yards against Hammond in the second half of the Gators’ 35-20 victory Friday night at Tornado Alley. St. Amant had 375 rushing yards for the second consecutive week.

HAMMOND – On a muddy field on a rainy night, St. Amant prevailed handily over Hammond, winning their second game of the season, 35-20, at Tornado Alley.

The Gators' offensive machine rushed 57 times for 375 yards, while attempting only three passes. St. Amant had twice as many first downs as Hammond with 26 and the Gator rushing total more than tripled Tornado running yardage.

“It feels good,” said St. Amant Coach David Oliver. “It's always tough to go out on the road in a hostile environment and I thought our kids did that.”

St. Amant (2-0) faced two quick gut checks. First, Hammond (1-1) lit up the scoreboard after a Britton Day fumble on the opening kickoff, going up 6-0 at the 11:16 mark on Justin Betts 3-yard run.

On the ensuing drive, the Gators roared back to the Tors' 10-yard line on the strength of Nelson Jointer's 26-yard fake punt run. But on the next play, quarterback Tyler Guillory fumbled out of the end zone on a 9-yard run around the right side.

St. Amant rebounded, driving 75 yards in 10 plays on its next possession, scoring when Guillory hit pay dirt off right tackle from 4 yards. Justin Manton hammered the first of five PAT's, giving the Gators a lead they never relinquished with 2:12 left in the first quarter.

“(Hammond) had a lot of early momentum,” Oliver said. “But, you know when you are a good football team and aspire to be a good football team you have to face adversity and play from behind on the road.”

Guillory rushed for 130 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Jointer added 111 yards and Tre' Vaughn chipped in with 79 yards with both scoring touchdowns

In the first game of the season last week, Guillory passed for 85 yards, but Oliver said the Gator game plan in Tornado Alley called for a ground attack.

“That was part of our game plan,” he said. “We leaned on them. Where we felt we had the most improvement in the offseason was in our interior line. I think what you saw tonight was us coming out a little bit on top in both our interior lines.”

Dominating the line on both sides of scrimmage allowed the Gators to pound the ball at will, not needing to pass.

The Tornado passing game in the wet night produced just four completions in 14 attempts, with two interceptions.

A Landon Henry interception of Tor quarterback Austin Miller in Hammond territory on the first series after St. Amant's go ahead score led to a 9-play drive with Jointer going in from the 1-yard marker. With 8:47 remaining in the half, the Gators went up 14-6.

Hammond answered with a 76-yard drive capped by Miller's 1-yard score, closing the gap to 14-13 with 4:07 left.

The Gators roared back, taking a 21-13 lead on a 25-yard jaunt by Vaughn down the right side of the field with 1:16 left. The touchdown followed a key 3-yard run by Jointer on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive alive.

Hammond added another score, capitalizing on a Jointer fumble in the second half, and the Gators added two more touchdowns.

Guillory scored from three yards with 2:57 left in the third, and Breck Schexnayder intercepted a pass with 5:17 left leading to Guillory's third touchdown on a 8-yard quarterback keeper.

The Gators seek their third win of the seasons against Plaquemine Friday night at the Pit