Unity Christian’s big-play offense couldn’t be stopped by Hamilton as the Hawkeyes fell to the Crusaders 50-16 on the road Friday night.
The Crusaders had five touchdowns of 40 or more yards on the night, putting the Hawkeyes in a hole defensively for most of the night, along with a number of injuries that piled up as the game went on.
“You’re playing Unity, the best team in our league, they’re the best team we’re going to play this year,” said Hamilton coach Phil Koops. “You’ve got to play super disciplined on offense and defense.”
Hamilton fumbled the opening kickoff and Unity Christian recovered, setting the Crusaders up in great position. Six plays later, Malekhi Obande scored from seven yards out.
The Hawkeyes came up short on fourth down in Unity territory on their next drive. Unity turned around with a 62-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Chandler to Drew Chandler to go up 16-0.
Unity went down the field again and scored on a 1-yard Obande run and went up 23-0. But Hamilton answered with a 38-yard touchdown run on fourth and five by Tyler Stezowski, and Hamilton trailed 23-8.
The big play bit the Hawkeyes again two plays later, with Chandler scoring on a 66-yard run to put Unity up 29-8.
“We had kids give it their best attempt,” Koops said. “They’re really good at what they do, and some of that stuff was going to happen.”
The Hawkeyes were stopped on fourth down, leading to a 47-yard touchdown run by Luke Boverhof two plays later to make it 36-8.
Unity scored two plays into its first second-half drive on an 80-yard touchdown run by Kobe Beute, and Ethan VanOtterloo had a 65-yard touchdown run later in the half.
Hamilton got its lone touchdown on a 3-yard run by Spencer Vandenbrink after a long injury delay when Stezowski was injured midway through the third quarter. He was taken to the hospital following the injury, and gave a thumbs up on the way off the field.
The Hawkeyes were dealing with a number of injuries and players held out for contact tracing.
“We finished the game on our fourth quarterback,” Koops said. “With all that going on, I was proud.”
The Hawkeyes controlled the ball well in the second half with Vandenbrink, Adrian Sanchez and Brayden Guerink, but had a drive fall short late in the fourth after a fumble.
The Hawkeyes finished with 56 carries for 269 yards. Sanchez had 22 carries for 91 yards. Vandenbrink rushed 17 times for 74 yards. Stezowski finished with seven carries for 59 yards.
Kyle Jamrog made nine tackles on defense.
Hamilton (2-3) closes the regular season next week against West Catholic.