HOT SPRINGS -- Lake Hamilton was on the ropes against Hot Springs Lakeside with less than two minutes remaining.
The Wolves came up with a defensive stop that cemented the return of the Garland County rivalry game after 19 years.
Lakeside senior running back Dorecus Ferguson fumbled and Lake Hamilton senior linebacker Kanaan Williams recovered to preserve the Wolves' 31-27 victory over the Rams in front of an overflow crowd of more than 6,700 on Friday night at Austin Field.
Fans lined up on the stadium's track outside of the 30-yard line on both sides with both the home and visiting stands full of Rams and Wolves fans.
After the game, Lake Hamilton Coach Tommy Gilleran, a 1988 graduate of the Pearcy school, had a simple message for his team.
"How about them Wolves?" said Gilleran to a loud and boisterous team.
Friday's game was the first time the Wolves (1-0) and Rams (0-1) played since 1999. The series was stopped after a series of pranks by students from both schools.
Lake Hamilton improved to 19-12 in the series.
The Rams were driving with 4:48 left when senior quarterback Taylor Gillham threw a 30-yard pass to classmate Sawyer Lamb that gave Lakeside a first down at the Lake Hamilton 27.
Four plays later, Williams came up with the biggest play of the game inside the 10-yard line.
"It was amazing how we overcome all of that," Gilleran said. "As a group, we did really well. The defense late in the game made the plays we needed to make."
Lakeside Coach Jared McBride was disappointed with the Rams' finish.
"We couldn't close it out," McBride said. "I feel bad for our guys and not being able to finish. That's a part of the game, like I talked about with our guys. We didn't execute at the end."
Lakeside led 27-25 with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter. Gillham's 37-yard pass to sophomore Logan White set up Ferguson's 4-yard touchdown run.
However, the Wolves came right back with sophomore quarterback Layne Warrick's 27-yard touchdown pass to senior Kadin Kemp for a 31-27 advantage with 4:58 left.
Sophomore running back Carlos Brewer led the Wolves with 202 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries.
"It was exciting to see him," Gilleran said. "He loved it tonight."
Junior Braden Braughton finished with 166 yards and 1 touchdown on 13 carries as Lake Hamilton outgained Lakeside 454-402.
Gillham completed 14 of 21 passes for 303 yards for the Rams. Senior Keelan Fleming led Lakeside's receivers with 5 catches for 116 yards. Lamb finished with 5 receptions for 110 yards.
Also for Lakeside, sophomore Issac Echols returned a kickoff 92 yards.
Gilleran was glad to leave the Spa City with a victory.
"This game has been wearing me out for three weeks preparing for it," Gilleran said. "We were trying to get our minds focused on this game and not the distractions and we did. We kept fighting and found a way to win."
Sports on 09/01/2018
Print Headline: Late turnover clinches Wolves' win over Rams