GLENDALE — Hamilton High School will have to make room in their trophy case for a seventh football state championship, as the Huskies dominated the Mountain Pointe Pride in route to a 31-16 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium to claim the AIA Division I championship.
The Huskies were led by their defense, which forced four Pride turnovers, including three interceptions from Mountain Pointe quarterback Antonio Hinojosa. Hamilton held Mountain Pointe’s playmakers, Jalen Brown and Garret Craig, in check most of the afternoon.
Hamilton’s dominance began on their opening drive, when the Huskies ate up six minutes of clock and put seven points on the board on a touchdown pass from quarterback A.J. Thigpen to tight end Chad Nelson. The score put the Huskies up 7-0 with 5:44 to play in the first.
On Mountain Pointe’s second offensive play, Hinojosa fumbled on a quarterback keeper and Hamilton recovered on the Mountain Pointe 32 yard-line. Daniel Wickman converted an 18-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to put Hamilton up 10-0.
Thigpen threw his second touchdown pass of the game with less than a minute to play in the first half, this one to Tyler Eggers to put the Huskies up 17-0 at the half.
Mountain Pointe ran only 14 offensive plays before halftime, committing three turnovers and scoring zero points.
The Hamilton defense found the endzone early in the second half, when Levi Sterling intercepted a Antonio Hinojosa pass and returned it for a touchdown to put the Huskies 24-0, to put the game out of reach.
Hamilton head coach Steve Belles won his fifth state title as the Huskies head football coach, and the seventh title for the program puts them one behind Mountain View for the most titles in major high school football.
With a solid core of defensive players, Hamilton will certainly be in the running for the state title next season.