SPARR- It was one of those plays that you had to see to appreciate its full impact.
With his team down 14-0 in the first quarter at North Marion on Friday night, Dunnellon’s Averian Hamilton took a pass from Trent Townsend and raced 68 yards before reaching for the pylon to score. That’s when Colts’ defensive back Buc Offord took his shot, diving for and knocking the ball out of Hamilton’s hand before he crossed the goal line.
North Marion then recovered it at the 3 and proceeded to go 97 yards in 13 plays, capping the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run from Jyron Gilmore to propel NMHS to a 45-7 victory.
“That was a big swing in the game,” DHS coach Price Harris said.
Colts’ coach Willie Offord agreed and pointed out how the near-score was partially the result of an “undisciplined” play by the defense but was made up for by hustle. And said he was happy to see that.
“We take pride in sprinting to the football,” Offord said. “We try to create turnovers all the time. It is a true testament (that we never gave up on the play).”
While that might be the most memorable, it wasn’t the only highlight for NMHS (5-2).
Playing in place of Joleeco Gaskin, who missed the game for what Offord called a school disciplinary issue, Dre Council carried 23 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Corey Wilsher completed 15-of-21 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. And Jedyn Nichols recorded three sacks, all in the second half.
But perhaps standing out most was the pass defense, which got two interceptions from Luke Rose and one each from Nate Ion and Gilmore.
Called “Papa” by his father since he was a child, Gilmore’s nickname has been shortened to “Pop” in recent years.
And at the risk of sounding corny, his performance is going to pop when coaches watch the tape.
In addition to his early short scoring run and his interception, Gilmore took a short pass from Wilsher on the first play of the fourth quarter before zig-zagging and sprinting to a 60-yard score.
“That was pretty exciting right there,” Gilmore said with a grin.
Gilmore added that the defense wasn’t thrilled about not getting any interceptions in last Thursday’s 48-27 defeat of Eastside.
“We practice hard all week and want that to show (in our games),” Gilmore said. “We wanted to get a few this week.”
For its part, DHS (3-5) fought the entire way. Harris added that he’s impressed with the growth of North Marion’s program under Offord.
“We’ve got to get better,” said Harris, who lost Florida State wide receiver commitment Maurice Goolsby to a broken hand during the game. “They dominated us up front.
“Coach Offord does a good job. Last year when we played them (a 29-0 victory by the Tigers), we knew they were going to be good (this year). And they’re going to be even better next year.”