If you asked most people prior to this game, they would have said the Jackrabbits didn't stand a chance. If those people would have seen the score at the end of the first half, they would have been shocked. It seemed like all of Mesa came out to cheer for the under-dogs, in what has to have been the biggest crowd is recent history.
The Mesa defense held a potent Hamilton offense scoreless for 23 minutes and 48 seconds of the first half. It looked as though Hamilton would take a 3-0 lead into half time as Yannick Mets kicked a short field goal with 12 seconds in the half. But a good return and a long Dallin Parker to Kyler Fackrell pass put the Jackrabbits at midfield. And with a strong legged kicker in Tyler Ryan, Mesa HC Kelley Moore knew he had a shot at some points if they got a few more yards.
With 6 ticks left on the clock, Parker threw an out route that was read by Stanford bound Devon Carrington from Hamilton and he returned it 52 yards for a score as time expired. 10-0 Hamilton at halftime.
It was in the third period that Hamilton put this game out of reach.
On their second drive, the Huskies got big gains from RBs Zach Bauman and Michael Allen. Those gains plus a horsecollar penalty gave the Huskies the ball inside the 10 yard line. Travis Dean hit TE Zack Parrish from a few yards out for the first offensive TD of the game. QB/holder Kyren Poe raced in on a fake two-point conversion to put Hamilton up 18-0.
This is when the wheels fell off for Mesa. Two fumbles and a turnover on downs led to 17 points for Hamilton on the next three drives and gave Hamilton their second straight 5A1 title.
The first fumble was recovered by Cedric Parker and Bauman rumbled in from 9 yards out a few plays later. 25-0.
Hamilton forced a turnover on downs on the next series and Dean hooked up with Steven Hanson for an 11 yard score. 32-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mesa fumbled, Hamilton recovered and got three points out of kicker Yannick Mets and took a 35-0 lead just a few ticks into the 4th quarter.
This would be the final. Hamilton 35 Mesa 0.
Mesa played great defense for most of the game but the bottomline was they never could get anything going offensively. Hamilton just was too fast and had too many athletes.
Hamilton S Devon Carrington. He had two INTs, one broke the game open just before half and gave the Huskies some much needed momentum.