Queen Creek gave seven-time state champion Hamilton all it wanted for almost three quarters on Friday night, but the Bulldogs had difficulty containing big plays from Huskies’ quarterback Travis Lockhart and wide receiver Kaleb Pitts.
The senior duo connected on several big pass plays during Friday’s 31 – 14 win, including a 21-yd touchdown pass and reception late in the third quarter to increase the Huskies lead to 17 – 7.
“It’s really easy throwing to this guy (Pitts),” Lockhart told Sports360AZ.com after the victory. “(He’s) a big target, fast, he’s quick, and he can get off the ball. He makes my job easy at quarterback and getting the ball to him downfield, he can make moves and score.”
After Queen Creek took a 7 – 3 lead midway through the first quarter, Pitts hauled in a 47-yard pass from Lockhart to set up Austin Lowe’s 2-yard touchdown run, allowing Hamilton to regain the lead near the start of the second quarter.
Later in the game, Pitts and Lockhart connected on a 33-yard pass play to get the Huskies out of the shadow of their own goal line.
Pitts didn’t just make big plays in the passing game, though. He also had a 50-yard kickoff return to open the second half, giving Hamilton great starting field position.
“I thought I had a pretty good game tonight,” Pitts said afterwards. “Travis was getting the ball out to me and the line was protecting (well), so he had time to get the ball (out).”
Pitts’ performance caught the attention of his head coach, who said the senior receiver and kick return specialist is more than just a great football player.
“He’s phenomenal,” Hamilton head coach Steve Belles said. “He’s a big time player. Not only is he a really good football player, he’s a smart student – a 4.7 (GPA) kid. He’s one of those kids that whatever he does in life he’s going to be successful.”
In the fourth quarter, Lockhart threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to junior Chance Brewington on a 56-yard catch-and-run to further extend the Huskies’ lead.
“The linemen did a great job tonight,” Lockhart said. “(They) gave me time to make a move, get downfield, and get the ball to the fast guys.”
What did Belles think of the performance of his senior signal caller?
“He’s our guy,” he said. “In Travis we trust.”
After a lopsided 44 – 7 victory at Ironwood Ridge last week, the Huskies appear to be firing on all cylinders early in the season, going 2 – 0 after Friday’s win and gaining even more confidence along the way.
“We’re coming together more as a team now,” Pitts said. “We’re playing well, really picking things up, so I think it’ll be a good season.”
Indeed it will.
Perhaps even another championship season.