Central closes season with win over Sikeston

Friday, November 4, 2005

Hykeem Hammonds rushed for 233 yards in the Tigers' 33-20 victory.

Central junior running back Hykeem Hammonds showed Tigers football fans that the immediate future could be bright.

Hammonds rushed for 233 yards in Central's 33-20 win against Sikeston in the season finale Thursday night at Houck Stadium.

Hammonds brought his season total to 904 yards with a career-best performance against the Bulldogs. The speedy 5-foot-6 back scored on runs of 61 and 80 yards and finished with three touchdowns.

"There's a lot of promise," Central coach Lawrence Brookins said. "There are some young guys, assuming they do come back, that could develop into some really good players."

Central finished its season 3-7, with a 2-1 mark in both Class 4 District 1 play and SEMO North Division play. Sikeston fell to 1-9.

"We started off a little rough, but we finished strong," Hammonds said.

In a season in which the Tigers had been outscored 287-99 heading into Thursday's game, the opening quarter could not have gone much better for Central. Sikeston lost a pair of fumbles in its own territory on its first two plays from scrimmage.

After recovering the first fumble at the Sikeston 31, Hammonds rushed for 23 yards on seven carries and finished off the eight-play drive with a 1-yard run.

Central cashed in on the next fumble with a 22-yard pass from Blake Slattery to Ty Craft. A 61-yard run by Hammonds late in the quarter put Central up 19-0.

"It felt very good to have that kind of lead," Brookins said. "We haven't had many of those leads, obviously."

The score remained 19-0 at the half, as Garrett Stevens threw an interception on third-and-goal late in the half. Stevens' interception was one of the few mistakes the Tigers would make all night.

Craft added a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for the Tigers, and Hammonds' 80-yard run finished off the scoring for Central.

Hammonds finished with five runs of 10 yards or more.

"He got some good blocking to get through that first level," Brookins said. "After that, what he did on those runs, most of it was on him."

Sophomore running back Derek Walker added 45 yards on 10 carries. Slattery, a junior, completed 2 of 7 passes for 56 yards.

Sikeston running backs Jerod Scott and Acie Dixon ran for 62 yards apiece. Bulldogs quarterback Chase Ferrell ran for a 3-yard score and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Joey Williams.

"This is a springboard into hopefully bigger and better things, that's what I'm saying," Brookins said. "We want to sit down and refocus with the guys returning."

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