Oak Creek senior Virgil Hammond scored three touchdowns and led the Knights to a 40-7 victory over the visiting Kenosha Tremper on Friday, the latest in a string of standout performances by the Southeast Conference frontrunner.
“It was a great game,” Hammond said. “We stepped up and we came to play. It was great to get a home win, especially since they got us last year.”
After the Knights failed to score on their first possession and appearing to be in a tough spot on a third down and 5 from their own 7 yard line, Hammond found space and burst past the Trojans for a 93-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter.
Tremper looked poised to strike back after three plays had taken them from their own 36 yard line to Oak Creek’s 35 until Austin Sirovina sacked Tremper senior quarterback Kato Nichols for an 11-yard loss. Tremper could not convert and was forced to punt.
“It was a tough thing where we moved the ball and we made mistakes in the wrong periods of the game or the wrong time," coach Frank Matrise said. "Those are things that happen and you’ve got to overcome those little mistakes.”
Hammond scored twice more before halftime, once on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Strong, and again on a run from just a few yards out. Despite his part in producing points, Hammond was quick to praise the offensive line.
“When I score, they score. I tell them that every time I get into the end zone. I can’t get in there without them.”
The Trojans had an opportunity to put points on the board when they were down by 14. An eight-play drive had taken the Trojans from their own 10 yard line down to the Oak Creek 21, but once there, the drive stalled and the Trojans handed it back on downs.
“We went for it because we thought we had an opportunity to score,” said Matrise. “We knew that we were playing a good football team and we wanted to make sure that we did the right thing.”
“It was a grind, which I think we needed,” said Oak Creek coach Mike Bartholomew. “I made the comment at the half to our offensive guys that we didn’t have great field position in the first half, so the grind I think is going to help us down the road.”
Tremper scored in the third quarter after quarterback Kato Nichols was injured. Junior William Buege stepped up and threw a first-down pass to Jazz Peavy on his first play. After four more completed passes, he ran the ball into the end zone from 2 yards out for Tremper’s only points of the game.
The Knights scored three touchdowns in the second half, just as they had in the first, with Derrick Stephan and Paul Saari both scoring touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve still got a lot of things to clean up,” said Bartholomew. “Now we have Horlick coming up and their quarterback is amazing. The Southeast conference is tough, and you’ve got to play every week.”
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