'Dogs wallop West Greene

By Jamie Combs
SPORTS EDITOR
jcombs@starhq.com
The Hampton Bulldogs' latest performance on the football field was much like a room at the Holiday Inn: Less than spectacular but more than adequate.
Smoothing out their offense in the second half, and keeping West Greene off the scoreboard the entire game, the 'Dogs defeated the Buffaloes 36-0 in Watauga Conference action at J.C. Campbell Stadium on Friday night.
"Overall, we played really well defensively," said Bulldog quarterback/safety Mitchell Morton, who had a hand in four touchdowns and a two-point conversion, and collected seven tackles. "The defense played real hard and Justin ran the ball exceptionally well. Overall, the team did a good job."
Fullback Justin Waycaster recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game, piling up 148 yards on just 16 carries, and the 'Dogs, opening their conference schedule on a successful note, pushed their record to 2-2 while leaving the Buffaloes (0-2, 0-5) winless.
Offensively, West Greene was limited to 155 yards while Hampton rolled up 377, including a robust 327 on the ground.
"We're getting better every game," said Hampton linebacker Sean Moody, who garnered seven tackles of his own, giving him a team-high 32 for the season. "We're getting more confident with each win we get."
Bulldog coach J.C. Campbell was happy with the victory, and would have been happier if not for two wasted Hampton drives that led to a 7-0 halftime score.
"We did some good things, and we messed up two scoring opportunities," said Campbell. "We made some bad plays when we had no business doing it. That's going to take away from your rating there."
The first quarter mainly had to do with offense. West Greene, after receiving the opening kickoff, made its only scoring threat of the night. Putting their trademark three- and four-receiver sets to good use, the Buffaloes marched from their own 24 to the Hampton 18 before a penalty pushed them back five yards, and Danny Craft missed a 39-yard field goal try.
"West Greene came out in the spread formation and threw the ball a lot, and it was good for our defense to work against it," Campbell said. "We've worked in practice on that sort of stuff, but you can't tell what's going on till you're tested. After the first quarter there, I thought we adjusted pretty well."
Hampton then took its first turn with the ball, and didn't disappoint. Morton capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive with a nifty 17-yard TD run, and Cody Walsh banged through the extra point for a 7-0 Bulldog lead with 2:33 to go in the period.
The 'Dogs, however, came away empty-handed the rest of the half. They powered to the West Greene 15 on their next drive, but back-to-back penalties forced Walsh to try an unsuccessful 42-yard field goal attempt.
Getting inside the Buff 10 shortly before intermission, Hampton blew another scoring chance by losing a fumble.
"Miscues in the first half cost us," Morton said. "Those two touchdowns we didn't have, that was Johnson County all over again in the first half. In the second half, we made a little correction. We threw the ball a couple of times, which they weren't waiting on. Our line did a great job, and everybody in their positions did what they're supposed to do. That's what turned it around in the second half."
Breaking free from their shackles, the 'Dogs hit paydirt midway through the third quarter. A short West Greene punt gave them possession on the Buff 41, then four straight runs by Waycaster took the ball to the 2, setting up a Morton sneak into the end zone for a 13-0 Hampton lead.
Waycaster going up the gut was Hampton's favorite second-half play, resulting in 10 carries for 89 yards.
"They were setting up to stop something, and we just moved the hole over a little bit and they never adjusted," Campbell said. "We kept on running the same thing."
The next two Hampton possessions saw the 'Dogs do some damage with their passing attack. After hitting Jacob Moss with a 27-yard TD toss, and finding Eric Swain for a two-point conversion, Morton connected with Swain on a 23-yard scoring pass.
Walsh's second PAT of the contest upped the Bulldog advantage to 28-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Morton, slowed by an ankle injury this year, demonstrated increased agility on Friday night and gave what is so far his best performance of the season.
"That was a confidence boost," he said. "It felt good to actually score one for once. I know I took that one (touchdown) away from Justin. He ran the ball all the way down there, so I give that to him."
Down the stretch, Hampton forced three turnovers, with Gene Sanchez intercepting a pass and B.J. Irick and Cody Farmer recovering fumbles. At the 2:31 mark, Farmer accounted for Hampton's final touchdown, on an 11-yard run, and reserve quarterback Brandon Barnett scrambled his way to a two-point conversion.
Freshman Adam Townsend made impressive back-to-back plays, helping to force the fumble that Irick recovered, then gaining 22 yards on a sweep.
West Greene had two first downs in the second half (9 for the game), including one by penalty.
"Exceptional," said Moody, describing his team's defensive showing. "When 11 people are playing as hard as they can and going to the football, you can't stop them. We played really well tonight."
Adam Potter contributed six tackles to the Hampton effort, followed by Donny Singleton and Seth Clawson with five apiece. Clawson had a sack, with Potter and Singleton teaming on another.
Bryan Sauceman played a solid game at running back for the Buffaloes, rushing 16 times for 77 yards.