Hylton football added to its impressive history Friday with a 42-7 homecoming win against Osbourn Park to finish the season undefeated (10-0, 6-0) for the second straight year. The victory marked the 21st consecutive regular season win, dating back to the final game of the 2009 season. Since the school first opened in 1991, the Bulldogs have had seven undefeated seasons and have been crowned Cardinal District champions 12 times, Northwest Regional Division 6 Champions nine times, and VHSL AAA Division 6 State Champions three times.
Second year head coach Tony Lilly said that he attributes the success to the players and their effort.
“They committed themselves from day one,” said Lilly. “We talked about it during the off-season and dedicated ourselves to focus and try to push this thing to a different level. I'm proud and I want them to enjoy it this weekend, then I want to put it away and go to work on making it business from here on out.”
Prior to Friday, the Bulldogs had outscored opponents 312-82, thanks mostly to the throwing and rushing abilities of sophomore quarterback Travon McMillian; however, it was junior Josh Redfearn who put the first points on the scoreboard with a 1-yard run following a punt snap that sailed over the head of Osbourn Park's Nathan Bendy and was recovered near the goal line by Hylton's Lawrence Hunt. The extra point was missed.
After holding the Yellow Jackets to one first down on the ensuing drive, the Bulldogs took over possession at their own 14 yard line. On second and ten, McMillian threw a quick pass to senior Jaleel Dukes who ran a short hitch pattern then came back to the line of scrimmage to make the catch. Dukes juked left to avoid contact with Osbourn Park's Justin Carolina then broke four tackles as he barreled his way down the right sideline 86 yards for the touchdown. The extra point failed.
“I noticed earlier in the game that the corners were playing off at least 15 yards,” said Dukes. “So, I told Travon that I was just gonna run short. He gave it to me perfectly and after that I smelled the end zone.”
Dukes finished the game with six catches for 146 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion; he also had two kick returns for 56 yards. Dukes finished the regular season with 28 catches, 515 yards and seven touchdowns; he also threw a complete pass for a 41-yard touchdown this season.
Less than two minutes into the second quarter Hylton extended its lead to 14, after a snap by Osbourn Park's Sean Marley sailed high and rolled out the back of the end zone resulting in a safety. Dukes then returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Yellow Jackets' 30 yard line. Three plays later, a 24-yard pass from McMillian to Michael James set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Alston Johnson-Keys.
The lone score by Osbourn Park occurred on its next possession. On first-and-15, quarterback Damon Nicholson ran a sweep off the left tackle and gained 44 yards; he then connected with tight end Lamar Hogan for a 20-yard pass play. Then on second-and-goal from the six yard line Nicholson found Quintin Reynolds in the end zone.
The Bulldogs continued to dominate in the second half while taking advantage of the Yellow Jackets' consistent blitz pressure. McMillian connected with his receivers on short slant patterns for big gains on multiple occasions, one of which was Dukes' second touchdown score.
“We have multiple plays that have a slant within it,” said Lilly. “[Osbourn Park] brought some heat and we had problems picking it up in the first half. We made some adjustments during halftime and did a really good job of picking up the blitz package and giving Travon time to throw.”
“It's a blessing,” said Dukes about his experience winning a second Cardinal District championship. “To work with this team—my boys—it's a blessing it really is.”
McMillian completed 16 of 27 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Price caught 6 passes for 77 yards. Michael James caught 3-for-61 yards, and Charles McMillian caught one pass for 19 yards.
Charles McMillian rushed five times for 26 yards, Tyreese Pinkney had eight carries for 43 yards, Redfearn had 11 carries for 24 yards and three touchdowns, and Johnson-Keys rushed three times for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Osbourn Park stats
Nicholson completed 16 of 27 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. R.J. Brown had four catches for 40 yards, Peter Reed had 5 catches for 34 yards, and Reynolds caught 4 passes for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Jeremy Bell rushed 13 times for 36 yards and Nicholson rushed 19 times for 65 yards.