E.A. Sports Today

End of an era

Flat second half does in Weaver in what become coach Daryl Hamby’s final game on the sidelines

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE — Weaver coach Daryl Hamby knew the end was going to come eventually; he just didn’t want it to end this way.

The Bearcats were hoping to give their outgoing coach a long run in the Class 3A playoffs, but Hamby’s last crusade (that’s what the ‘HLC’ stood for on their warmups) ended in a 42-27 loss to Westminster Christian Friday night.

The Bearcats (7-4) looked very much in the first half like a team that would extend their coach’s tenure at least a week by knocking off its third straight No. 1 in the opening round, opening leads of 14-0 and 21-8.

But it all got away when they were outscored 34-6 in the second half to get turned away.

The Bearcats were really in control in the first half. They scored three touchdowns, but they also missed on three red zone opportunities that eventually came back to bite them.

On the opening possession of the game they got to the 4, but a delay penalty pushed them back and they eventually fumbled it away at the 3. They had a 17-yard touchdown pass called back for an ineligible receiver downfield and didn’t recover. And later in the second quarter they reached the 14 before a false start knocked them back and they eventually turned it over on downs.

“Anytime in football when stuff like that happens it’s going to come back and get you,” fullback Caleb Allison said. “You throw three touchdowns back up on the board we’re right here in it. I told the guys down in the red zone … you have got be real patient about what you’re doing. I think emotions got the best of the us tonight.”

“When you’re playing a team like this with the ability to come back quick and score, especially on the road, you’ve got to capitalize on that,” Hamby said. “You’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities and we didn’t do that. What was it (at half) 21-8? It probably should’ve been 35-8 and that would’ve been a whole lot different ballgame.”

Shamar Spinks rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Robert Gaines. Spinks played quarterback the second half after Gaines came out with an apparent neck injury late in the third quarter.

It was a scene reminiscent of 2011 when quarterback Timothy Hawkins was knocked out against Saks and running back Chris English played the entire second half out of the wildcat. This time, however, Spinks was in full quarterback mode.

“There’s no other feeling I get that I can remember that’s worse than this right here,” Spinks said. “Losing in the first round my senior year. We should’ve went farther, we just didn’t.

“I feel like I played my hardest but I don’t know what everybody else thought. I was just trying to help my team win, trying to do everything I could. My team played hard, we fought; they just outplayed us I guess. The second half we couldn’t match their energy.”

The Bearcats also did a good job containing prolific Westminster quarterback Ian Thies well in the first half. But Thies picked up the pace in the second half, and that’s wasn’t good for the Bearcats when their offense came out admittedly flat.

He capped the opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown and accounted for three third-quarter scores to give the Wildcats the lead after they trailed the entire first half. The 5-foot-9 senior was 9-for-13 passing for 119 yards in the half. Running back John Hayes rushed for 137 yards and two fourth-quarter scores after being held to nine yards in the first half.

“That’s why you coach,” Wildcats coach Louis LeBlanc said. “It was awesome to see the boys, the look in their eyes, and not giving up.”

Once Westminster took the lead the closest Weaver got was 29-27 with 10:49 to play. Spinks scored on an 8-yard run, but he misconnected with Josh Lowe coming over the middle on the two-point conversion that would’ve tied it.

Hayes scored his first touchdown on the ensuing possession and the Bearcats couldn’t rally, turning it over on downs at the Westminster 30 and then throwing an interception.

Hamby announced in the spring this would be his final season coaching football at Weaver. He wrapped up his nine-year tenure with the Bearcats 52-49, the second-winningest coach in school history. His teams made playoff appearances in eight of the nine seasons and the last six in a row.

“You’ll just miss it,” Hamby said. “Football been part of my life since 1990 as far a coach, and as a head coach I’ve had the privilege of coaching these guys; I’m very close to my coaching staff.

“You’re gonna miss the games, the practices, but you’ll miss the guys in the locker room, getting involved in young guys’ lives. It’s going to be tough to walk away from, but it’s time.”

Weaver principal Mike Allison said he planned to start the process of finding Hamby’s successor as soon as the season was over. He said he’d like to make the hire at the January county school board meeting.

Westminster Christian 42, Weaver 27
Team stats Wea WC

First downs 17 18
Rushes-yds 51-372 38-184
Passes 2-10-2 15-28-1
Passing yds 55 181
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Punts-avg 2-35.0 5-32.4
Penalties-yds 14-127 6-50

Scoring summary
Weaver 7 14 0 6 – 27
Westminster 0 8 21 13 – 42

W – Shamar Spinks 43 run (Jadon Calhoun kick), 5:31 1Q
W – Robert Gaines 1 run (Jadon Calhoun kick), 9:38 2Q
WC – Ian Thies 1 run (Jackson Billings run), 5:59 2Q
W – Shamar Spinks 40 pass from Robert Gaines (Jadon Calhoun kick), 1:24 2Q
WC – Ian Thies 1 run (Cade Rawlings kick), 8:29 3Q
WC – Jackson Billings 14 pass from Ian Thies (Cade Rawlings kick), 5:18 3Q
WC – Ian Thies 1 run (Cade Rawlings kick), 0:27 3Q
W – Shamar Spinks 8 run (pass failed), 10:49 4Q
WC – John Hayes 36 run (kick failed), 10:07
WC – John Hayes 7 run (Cade Rawlings kick), 2:03 4Q

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