Hamilton dominates second half to down Highland

Hamilton dominates second half to down Highland

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Hamilton dominates second half to down Highland

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Highland High quarterback Weston Wallin passes as Hamilton High defensive end Tre' White (right) attempts to bat down the pass during the first half of the high school football game at Highland High in Gilbert on Friday, September 4, 2015.

Highland High quarterback Weston Wallin passes as Hamilton High defensive end Tre’ White (right) attempts to bat down the pass during the first half of the high school football game at Highland High in Gilbert on Friday, September 4, 2015.

Headed into halftime up just two points, Chandler Hamilton needed either a jolt to its offense or a strong showing from its defense to avoid leaving itself open to an upset.

It got both in the second half and turned a once-close contest into a laugher in a hurry.

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Ranked second in Division I by azcentral sports, Hamilton shut out No. 9 Gilbert Highland in the second half, going on to a 49-12 road victory Friday night.

Hamilton (3-0) led Highland (2-1) just 14-12 at halftime but found an offensive rhythm out of the break and surrendered just 24 yards of offense to Highland over the final 24 minutes.

FIND A GAME: Friday’s high school football scores

“Just stay the course,” Hamilton coach Steve Belles said of his halftime message. “It’s nothing to get rattled (about). They made a run and we responded, and that’s what I expect this team to do. They’re a senior-dominated team. They know what they’re doing.”

Hamilton scored touchdowns on its first two possessions but Highland answered with a touchdown, safety and field goal to trim Hamilton’s lead to two.

On Highland’s first possession of the second half, senior quarterback Weston Wallin’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and deflected right to Hamilton defensive end Emmanuel Byarm, who took it near midfield and went all the way for a pick-six that gave Hamilton some breathing room and seemed to throw Highland out of its groove.

“That changed the whole momentum of the whole game,” Belles said. “That’s Hamilton defense.”

Wallin was in the game in place of starting quarterback Keegan Michelson, who was injured on a keeper in the first quarter and did not return.

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Running backs Austin Lowe and Jawhar Jordan formed a potent duo in the Hamilton backfield, aided by the strong push of an aggressive offensive line.

Lowe, a senior, carried 10 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, while the sophomore Jordan added 68 yards on four carries.

“They’re insane,” senior quarterback Travis Lockhart said. “Austin has one of the strongest (set of) legs on the team, and Jawhar’s one of the fastest kids in the state of Arizona. It’s a dangerous, dangerous backfield.”

Lockhart finished 10-of-13 passing for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

PHOTOS: Chandler Hamilton vs. Gilbert Highland

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