Shaun Dion Hamilton and his defensive teammates at G.W. Carver had a chip on their shoulder.
Despite Jeremy Johnson no longer running the show under center for the Wolverines, the outside chatter remained about the team’s offensive capabilities, not the defense.
“I am really offended that people say Carver is an offensive school,” Hamilton said. “Or they say Jeremy made us, that’s like a slap to our face. I take a lot of pride in our defense, and we were underrated last year, so this year I wanted the defense to be known.
“When people talk about Carver, I want them to talk about the defense.”
After Friday night’s performance against Prattville’s bruising running back Kamryn Pettway, Hamilton might have got his wish.
Pettway, an Auburn commit, was held in check pretty much the entire game after last year’s 179-yard performance against the Wolverines. The 6-foot-1, 236-pounder finished with 74 yards on 22 carries and a pair of fumbles in his season debut at Cramton Bowl.
“It was pretty hard for us to get the run game going because they came out with some stuff we hadn’t seen before,” said Pettway, who rushed for over 1,100 yards a season ago.
Even though Hamilton wanted to bring recognition toward the defensive side of the ball, the game also provided a personal challenge in slowing down his childhood friend.
“It was a lot at stake,” said Hamilton, an Alabama commit. “Me and him had been playing against each other since grade school, then we split up in middle school. It was a lot at stake because I wanted to show him up because he had a great game against up last year.”
It was Hamilton’s turn in the spotlight. In the first quarter, the 6-foot, 241-pound senior linebacker blocked a punt and forced Pettway into a critical fumble during the first quarter which eventually led to Carver scoring the first of its three touchdowns.
“Yeah, it was personal a little bit being that we grew up together and played together all our life, then get to high school and play against each other,” Pettway said.
Carver coach Billy Gresham enjoyed watching both players.
“I guess it was a preview of the Iron Bowl for down the line,” said Gresham, whose squad has beaten Prattville the last two campaigns. “I don’t know how they got the best of each other, I’ll have to go back and look at the film. …”(Pettway’s) a great talent, and Shaun’s a great talent. Those guys are going to be great on the next level, and I look forward to watching them in the future.”
Of course, Prattville would have liked for a better offensive showing with its lone touchdown coming when Jarod Jones ripped the ball away and scored late in the fourth quarter.
“It’s disappointing that you come in here and lay it on the ground as much as we did,” Lions coach Chad Anderson said. “Miscues here and there; a fumble here and a fumble there. You can’t do that and win a ballgame, defense had the only score for us tonight. We got to do a better job offensively.”