Heathwood Hall gave Hammond a little bit of a fight Thursday night, but Skyhawks running back T.J. Brady proved unstoppable.
Brady rushed 33 times for 350 yards and three touchdowns as Hammond took out the Highlanders 33-7 at Heathwood Hall Field to finish the regular season 10-0.
“We’re just excited to go out and get the win tonight,” Skyhawks coach Erik Kimrey said. “We know we’ve got to go 3-0 (in the SCISA Class 3 playoffs), that’s all that matters now, but we’re just excited to get a quality win over a well-coached team.”
Hammond rolled up 451 rushing yards and 77 yards through the air. Heathwood Hall (4-6), had eight first downs and was limited to 182 yards of offense.
“They’ve got good coaches and good players and good depth,” Highlanders coach Jon Wheeler said. “You knew they were going to make a run. They make adjustments, and the players execute, so at the end of the day, they outcoached us and outplayed us.”
Thanks to Brady’s 170 first-half yards on 26 carries, the Skyhawks had no problem moving the ball over the first two quarters. But each time Hammond came near the goal line, the Heathwood Hall defense stiffened.
In Hammond’s first four possessions, the Highlanders forced two Hammond punts, Russell Brigman came down with an interception, and the Skyhawks turned the ball over on downs.
Meanwhile, Heathwood Hall took a 7-0 lead when Brandon Hill broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
The Skyhawks evened the score at 7 when Brady rumbled into the end zone from eight yards out with 7:52 left in the first half.
Heathwood Hall had 82 yards and two first downs to Hammond’s 229 yards and 12 first downs over the first two quarters, but the Skyhawks and the Highlanders were knotted at 7 at the half.
Brady broke the game open in the second half.
In the third quarter, he blasted through for a 26-yard TD run at the 4:22 mark. Later, Brady got free for a 66-yard run that set up Davis Bland’s score from a yard out with 1:11 to go in the third.
Brady’s 50-yard score with 10:24 to go in the game put it out of reach. It was his last play of the game.
“They loaded the box all night,” Kimrey said. “He’s the best running back we’ve ever had.”
Malik Bennett added a score from 25 yards out.
Next week, Hammond will begin the road to its possible seventh state championship in nine years.
“We’re just going to try to get the first round,” Kimrey said. “That’s what we have to do right now.”
HH – Brandon Hill 46 run (Hill kick) 1:42
Ha – T.J. Brady 8 run (Sean Hutchinson kick) 7:52
Ha – Brady 26 run (Hutchinson kick) 4:22
Ha – Davis Bland 1 run (kick failed) 1:11
Ha – Brady 50 run (run failed) 10:24
Ha – Malik Bennett 25 run (Hutchinson kick) 5:52