Hammond ties school mark for consecutive victories 27-9 win over Centennial boosts No. 11 Bears to 7-0


Hammond tied a school record for consecutive victories in a season yesterday at seven.

The Bears' defense rose to the occasion once again in Centennial's 27-9 defeat.

The win at home kept No. 11 Hammond (7-0 overall, 4-0 league) as the only unbeaten county team and on course to win its first county championship.

The Bears' defense had allowed 25 points entering the game, and the pressure created by its blitz forced Centennial quarterback John Webster (7-for-23, 47 yards) into one of his poorest passing performances.

The defense also created three turnovers, the biggest of which was a 55-yard interception for a touchdown by Hansel Henry. That interception, off an attempted screen pass in the second quarter, gave the Bears a 14-0 lead.

Hammond scored its first touchdown after it recovered a fumbled snap on a Centennial punt attempt at the Eagles' 19-yard line.

The Bears took just three plays to score with quarterback Tim Spruill running nine yards for the touchdown.

Spruill's running and passing proved too much for Centennial (4-3, 2-2) to handle. The All-American ran 14 times for 124 yards and one touchdown, and completed five of 11 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown.

"We shot ourselves in the foot in the first six minutes," Centennial coach Ed Holshue said. "The pressure got to us early. They are a really good defensive team and we didn't take advantage of their turnovers."

Hammond scored on its first three possessions, the third touchdown coming off a 39-yard pass from Spruill to Joe Norsworthy with five seconds left in the first quarter. The other big play on that four-play, 66-yard drive was a 27-yard pass from Spruill to Mike Bright.

Hammond called a timeout with 14 seconds left in the quarter to keep the wind at its back for that touchdown pass to Norsworthy.

"The wind was a big factor for us," Hammond coach Joe Russo said. "Every quarter we had it we scored."

Centennial took advantage of a Hammond fumble at Hammond's 32-yard line to score a touchdown on a 6-yard run by Scott Bross. A face-masking penalty against Hammond helped that drive.

Centennial had a chance to score again when Hammond turned it over on first down of the next series on an interception by Marwan Oweis at Hammond's 23-yard line. But four runs failed to produce a first down.

Hammond's defense held Centennial to one yard in the third quarter, and Centennial squandered another scoring opportunity by roughing the punter.

Hammond fullback Ron Gamble, who threw a lot of key blocks for Spruill, said: "As long as we keep our intensity the only thing that can stop us this season is ourselves."

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