By TRAVIS MILLER
---- — ARCADIA – Riding a long losing streak is never fun. That is what Taylor’s football team has faced since tasting victory last on Sept. 9, 2011. That has been their lone victory in their last 35 outings on the gridiron, but Friday night’s defeat at Hamilton Heights may have been the worst of those 34 defeats.
Class 3A No. 6-ranked Hamilton Heights dominated every facet of the game, not allowing the Titans to gain much of anything on offense and shredding the Taylor defense for an 64-7 win.
“We have got to find a way to come out ready to play,” Taylor coach Eric Davis said. “That is what it is all about. We were not ready to play. We didn’t have a good Tuesday or Thursday practice and it showed [Friday]. We can do everything to try and motivate them but at the end of the day they have to come out and decide they are ready to play.”
This game was never in doubt from the very beginning. Taylor’s first drive of the night was the first of many three-and-outs and 2015 Division I prospect Grant Weatherford quickly put the Huskies in front for good. He fielded a punt on the far sideline and quickly cut across the field for a 57-yard punt return to make it 6-0 Heights just over two minutes into the game.
Weatherford, who is drawing interest from several schools both as a wide receiver and as a guard in basketball, would score three total touchdowns on the night, and he added a second score after a Titan fumble when he caught an eight-yard pass from Monte Reed.
Heights led 26-0 after the first quarter and 47-0 at halftime.
The Titans did manage a very small measure of redemption late as they were able to take advantage of a great punt return by Dayne Tomlinson for their only score of the game. Tomlinson returned the only punt of the night for Heights for 47 yards to the Husky 18.
Just six plays later Tomlinson was able to cap the drive with a one-yard dive with 12.3 seconds left in the game to end the shutout. Kicker Evan Hewitt added the final margin on the extra point.
“This is something we have to move past,” said Davis of the late score. “We did that last week where we scored late and this week. At some point we have to pull ourselves up and get going in the first half without waiting until the end to salvage a little bit of pride.”
On the night Taylor only managed four first downs and a total of 88 yards from scrimmage. Jordan Lazaro was 10 of 22 passing for 52 yards, while Tomlinson added 42 yards on 19 carries. Zach Pittman also recovered a fourth quarter fumble for the Titans.