The Hamlin Pied Pipers first trip to the state championship ended in heartbreak as the Pipers lost to Mart for the Class 2A Division II crown.
Hamlin’s Jevon Williams and Mart’s Roddrell Freeman dominated play in the first half.
Williams found the endzone two times in first quarter on runs of 10 yards and 69 yards as the Pied Pipers took the lead in the first quarter.
Freeman was even more impressive in the half. He scored three times in the first half on runs of 59 yards, 14 yards and 6 yards. Those runs helped the Panthers take an 18-14 lead at the half.
Both defenses played better in the second half, and the Mart defense made a pair of plys that changed the game.
Panthers defensive back Klyderion Campbell stepped in front of Braydin Warner’s pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. The extra point gave Mart a 25-14 lead heading into the final frame.
Hamlin drove inside the Mart 10-yard line late in the 4th quarter, but Williams fumbles the direct snap and Mart’s Roddrell Freeman recovered to stop another threat by the Pipers. The Pied Pipers committed three turnovers in the game.
The game wasn’t over though. Hamlin cut the lead to five with a touchdown pass from Warner to Austin Lozano with 2:22 to go in the game. The 2-point conversion was no good. Mart’s lead was cut to 25-20.
Mart wins the Class 2A Division II state championship. It’s their eighth in school history.
Hamlin finishes their best season in school history with a 12-3 record.