By Matt Mauney | Associate Editor
TAMPA — A day removed from receiving his first college offer, Strawberry Crest’s Karel Hamilton did just about everything possible Friday night in a losing effort at Sickles.
Strawberry Crest quarterback Tristan Hyde left the game with what was diagnosed as a mild concussion just before halftime. Hyde was taken to the hospital by his parents for further testing and did not return.
Hamilton, a standout receiver that received an offer from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Thursday, split time at quarterback with Austin Carswell.
Down 17-7 at the half, Hamilton led the Chargers down the field using a wildcat-type scheme and pulled his team within three with a 13-yard touchdown run.
“Losing your starting quarterback is always going to make you adjust your game plan, but we did a good job of coming out and scoring on that drive,” said SCHS head coach John Kelly after the game.
Strawberry Crest then recovered an onside kick and kicked a 30-yard field goal after two face mask penalties by Sickles, tying the game at 17.
The Gryphons would then score 21 unanswered points for the 38-17 district win. Strawberry Crest was flagged often in the second half, including several costly penalties that kept drives going for Sickles.
All together, Hamilton had big plays catching, running and returning the ball on kickoffs and punts.
“What more can you say about him,” Kelly said. “You can put him at any position and he’s the best athlete on the field. I used to say he’s the best athlete in the county without an offer, but after tonight, I really think he’s the best athlete bar none, no matter whose got what offers. He takes it upon his shoulders and does whatever it takes.”