Penney rolls Polo to advance to quarterfinals

By Phil Ervin The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: November 6, 2012 - 12:50 AM

For one assertive sequence, the only thing capable of stopping Derrick Hughes was the all-state running back himself.

Five straight carries, 106 yards. And a giant dagger in the heart of Polo’s Cinderella story hopes.

Hughes trucked through the Panthers defense for 215 yards and four touchdowns, providing vivid illustration of Hamilton’s dominance in a 42-14 Class 1 District 8 championship game win Monday.

Brother Devan Hughes added a pair of scores and a key interception, and the Class 1 No. 1 Hornets (12-0) move on to face Wellington-Napoleon in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Hamilton won its fifth straight district championship and remained perfect against Polo since the Panthers joined the Grand River Conference in 2006.

Hamilton played in the GRC until switching to the KCI Conference for this season but wound up with a shot at a Caldwell County rival after third-seeded Polo upset South Harrison in last week’s semifinals.

A game like any other, Derrick Hughes said bluntly.

“I don’t really put much stock in it,” the 2011 first-team all-state selection said. “It doesn’t really feel like a district championship or anything. It’s just another win.

“Our eyes are all on St. Louis.”

That’d be the site of Hamilton’s potential third state title game appearance — and victory — in the past four seasons. Two wins stand in the Hornets’ way, starting with a rematch of the 2009 Class 1 semifinals, a Hamilton triumph on the way to the first of back-to-back state titles.For the rest of the story click here.

Hamilton’s 5-10, 194-pound workhorse stiff-armed two separate Polo defenders to the ground on the way to a 37-yard burst on the first play of the fourth quarter, then scored from 6 yards out two plays later. He nearly found the end zone again on his next carry, a 46-yard jaunt off left tackle where a failed tightrope-walk attempt of the left sideline inside the 5 served as his only obstacle. He went in untouched on the next snap.