Last year in Wilde Lake's Class 2A championship season, running back Damon Hamlin ran in the shadow of teammate Raphael Wall. Yesterday, Hamlin proved he belonged in the spotlight.
The senior rushed for 64 yards on 11 carries before being removed early in the third quarter with a slightly sprained ankle, and led the second-ranked Wildecats (2-0) to a 27-0 victory over visiting Dundalk (1-1).
"He's the perfect back for the offense we run," said Wilde Lake coach Doug Duval of the only back in his run-and-shoot offense. "He's a Barry Sanders-type back, and when he's playing well, our offense is very tough to defense."
"I knew once [Wall] left, it would be on me," Hamlin said. "I figure I can play that role."
He wasted little time yesterday proving he could as the Wildecats scored on their first posesssion. Taking over at the Owls' 41 after a punt, Wilde Lake got three carries from Hamlin for 24 yards, then went ahead, 6-0, as Steve Alleyne caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Phil White.
Wilde Lake held the Owls in check on their next three possessions, allowing 16 total yards. Dundalk was limited to 55 yards for the day.
After a punt pinned the Wildecats at their 1, their offense went to work. White bobbled the snap from center, but found Ira Crawley open at the 22, and his run after the catch took the ball to the Dundalk 35. After three carries by Hamlin took the ball to the 12, White carried it in from there, giving the Wildecats a 12-0 lead.
The Owls again failed to move the ball, and a short punt gave Wilde Lake another opportunity just before the half.
After taking over at Dundalk's 40, the Wildecats drove to the Owls' 4. Hamlin scored his only touchdown of the day, on fourth and two, on the next play to increase the margin to 20-0 at the half.
The Wildecats scored their final touchdown late in the third quarter. Pat Brown caught an 11-yard pass from White in the back of the end zone.
John Johnson led Dundalk with 35 yards rushing on 11 carries.
"Today we bit off a little more than we could chew," Dundalk coach Rick Zentz said, explaining why he scheduled Wilde Lake. "Doug [Duval] has a fine football team and you have to play good teams to get better. We are an improving team, and I didn't think we'd get any better by scheduling a floor mat."