The Hamburg Lion football team brought home another win after playing a bombing raid of a passing game against Central in West Helena last Friday.
The Lions beat the Cougars 47-12. Nick McNeil put his name on five of the team’s touchdowns and had a total of ten receptions thrown by quarter back Brett Rice for 323 yards. Rice threw 15 for 19 with 384 total passing yards.
Coach Cecil Ray Cossey said those are the best statistics from a quarterback and wide receiver during his time at Hamburg.
“Those are incredible numbers,” Cossey said.
The Lions dominated the night from start to finish, but Cossey said that they faced some of the best players in the conference.
The Cougars are down on numbers this year, but Cossey said they still have some of the best players in the conference.
“Coach Smith does a great job up there and runs a classy program,” Cossey said. “Their defensive tackle, No. 43 was incredible and he was without a doubt the best defensive lineman that we have seen in my seven years at Hamburg.”
The Lions have worked hard and continued to make improvements, but Cossey said he knows they still aren’t playing their best football. Specifically, Cossey said the front seven on defense have to continue to improve.
“I feel like we have one more major step of improvement to make before we are playing our best,” he said. “We saw flashes of improvement against Helena but we must be able to run fit properly every single play and as a defense, we are not there yet.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Cossey said he wants to see his team be able to run and pass in the same night.
“We have scored a lot of points these past few weeks, but we will need to be more balanced in order to win the big games moving forward,” he said.
Though the season has been anything but normal, Cossey said he believes his team is slowly starting to get on pace with where they should be.
“We finally feel like we are back on track to where we would be in a ‘normal’ season,” he said.
Hamburg’s schedule has mutated through the season as the team has faced multiple cancellations and schedule changes — and more are expected. Hamburg is one of the few schools that has been able to play six games.
“It has been tough at times, but our coaches and players have remained diligent following the guidelines, and it is really starting to pay off,” Cossey said.
“When you consider what other teams and schools are going through right now, I am very proud of how our program and school district have put safety first and followed the guidelines.”
The Ashley Bowl that was scheduled for Friday in Hamburg has been canceled at Crossett’s request.
“ I hate that for our teams, and I hate that for all of Ashley County,” Cossey said.
“Hamburg-Crossett week is a week everyone looks forward to, and for the first time in a long time, we will all miss out on that this year.”
In previous weeks, Cossey has found a replacement game, but he said he isn’t planning to schedule a non-conference game in its place.
“Unlike previous weeks when we scheduled non-conference games, we are going to play it slow this week and be ready if a conference game should happen to come open,” he said.