Hamilton junior running back Kyeler Burke came into the season with a chip on his shoulder after an injury sidelined what could have been a star sophomore season. In the Huskies’ season opener against Sandra Day O’Connor, Burke looked in midseason form, leading Hamilton to a 43-7 victory.
Burke tallied 83 rushing yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run on an option pitch from Hamilton quarterback James Sosinski in the first quarter. Burke also caught eight passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.
“I just felt like I had something to prove,” Burke said. “The first couple of games (in 2013) I played well but then I got injured and it messed up my entire season. So I felt like I had something to prove to my team and to all the people watching.”
Hamilton received the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards in just under five minutes to put up the first points of the game. Sosinski capped the drive with his first touchdown pass of the game, a 13-yard strike to tight end Luc Gauthier.
From there Burke took over, scoring the next two Hamilton touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air, the latter coming in the form of a 51-yard touchdown reception on third down midway through the first quarter. Sosinski found Burke open in the middle of the field and Burke did the rest, outracing two Falcon defenders to the endzone.
“I have known James (Sosinski) since I was in eighth grade,” Burke said. “We went to a spring camp together and ever since then we have been really good friends. We play basketball together. We are brothers.”
It was a business-like performance for Hamilton (1-0). The stingy Husky defense surrendered just 30 yards on the ground and intercepted O’Connor quarterback Bailin Markridge twice.
The duo of junior Garrett Rand and senior Caleb Peart wrecked havoc in the Falcon backfield all night. Hamilton head coach Steve Belles said even his offensive linemen have a difficult time blocking them in practice.
“They are two beasts, we cannot even block them during practice,” said Belles of his two star defensive linemen. “They just get after it play-after-play. They are relentless and that is what you want out of your defensive guys. It starts with those guys.”
O’Connor (0-1) got on the board in the third quarter when senior running back Alex Crawford scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Hamilton used a two-yard touchdown run by Rico Tipton and a 40-yard interception return by JJ Parsons to cap the impressive performance.
“In the first half with ours ones in I don’t think we punted once,” said Belles. “We scored every time we touched the ball and that is what you want to do.”
Hamilton 43, Sandra Day O’Connor 7
First Downs: Ham 15, SDO 11
Rushing: Ham 31-195, SDO 26-20
Passing: 13-17-114-1-0, SDO 18-33-150-0-2
Fumbles-lost: Ham 0 SDO 0
Hamilton 15 14 14 0 43
Sandra Day O’Connor 0 0 7 0 7