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Hamilton Football Looks To Return To Championship Form

The Hamilton Huskies Varsity football team entered the open division playoffs as the No. 8 seed and was knocked out by the eventual champion Liberty Lions.

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Injury-Riddled Season

Despite a season filled with injuries, the Hamilton Huskies fought through it and still got themselves a shot at a state title.

Junior offensive lineman and Arizona State commit Toby Mealer emphasized how the team overcame this adversity together. 

 “If there was one thing to be proud of I think through all the adversity and injuries, I feel we kept fighting. Honestly, I don’t know how to gauge our accomplishments because we didn’t get it done in the big games,” Mealer said. “That was very disappointing but I can promise you we work as hard as any team out there to make sure we never feel that again.”

What may have been the most significant injury was to senior quarterback and Illinois State commit Beckham Pellant. In the eight games he appeared in, Pellant threw for 1859 yards and 25 touchdowns, with just two interceptions.

“It was a very young group of guys this year and it was great to see those guys step up, especially Rich coming in for me late in the season,” Pellant said.


Coach Zdebski Steps Down

After finishing the season 7-4 and losing in the first round of the open division, head coach Michael Zdebski resigned. Zdebski was the head coach for six seasons and kept the program afloat despite all the controversy before he took over.

Senior running back/wide receiver Avery Knight played under Zdebski for three seasons and knows how much he meant to the team.

“We were all surprised, he was a great coach dedicated to the program more than anyone we knew,” Knight said. “The amount of time and effort he put into rebuilding the Hamilton name was key to his legacy here and it would be forgotten.”

Despite all that the coach has done for the program, players are now focused on what is next for the program.

As a program, we haven’t won a championship in over a decade. Losing in the first round is not acceptable to me,” Mealer said. “Hopefully the next Coach will be experienced and assemble a staff that has one goal in mind and that is winning a championship the right way!”

The Next Step For Hamilton

After another season ending without a state title, the focus immediately shifts to next season and what has to be done.

Senior players gave as much advice as possible to the young guys who will be carrying the program for the next few years. Senior defensive back/wide receiver Chinua Hadson-Taylor did just that.

“I told them to stick together and love the brother next to you, because they will go through more adversities and challenges in and outside of the game,” Hadson-Taylor said. “But when you have a team that is behind you, it makes it easier to get through those tough times and makes the team stronger in the end.”

Pellant had some similar advice for his younger teammates.

“The biggest thing I want to leave to next year’s teams is just to put your head down and work,” Pellant said. “Don’t get caught up in all the social media hype with other guys getting offers and stars.” 

Despite being one of the most dominant teams over time, the Huskies have not won a state title since 2012. With the search for a new coach underway, the team will look to change that and be crowned champions once again.


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Saleh Awwad is a reporter/writer covering Phoenix High School Sports and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @SalehAwwad_

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