Persall puts up impressive numbers as West Point defeats Hamilton, 23-13


HAMILTON – Though the game got off to a slow start, the West Point Warriors found their footing, handing Hamilton a 23-13 loss on opening night of the 2017 season.

Hamilton’s first possession was stopped quickly by West Point, but a late hit resulting in a personal foul gave the Aggies a second chance, and they converted less than two minutes later on a short 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point put the Warriors behind 7-0 with 6:53 left in the first quarter.

Both teams tightened up until the Warriors broke away in the second quarter. West Point marched more than 60 yards down the field as Brandon Woods gave the Warriors new life with his touchdown, followed by a 2-point conversion. West Point led 8-7 after Austin Smith caught the 2-point conversion pass with just a couple minutes off the clock in the second.

Following a quick set, West Point forced Hamilton’s offense off the field only to take advantage of its defense. Hunter Persall broke off a 53-yard run, which put the Warriors in scoring distance. Unfortunately for the Warriors, a fumble inside the 10 gave Hamilton the ball back with more than half of the quarter remaining.

The Warriors tightened down on defense following the lost fumble. It gave West Point a second shot at the end zone, but it wasn’t meant to be. On a fourth-and-1 from the Hamilton 11-yard line, the Warriors botched the snap, giving Hamilton another turnover within its own 10-yard line with a little more than a minute left in the first half.

This did not demoralize the Warriors, as Woods intercepted the ball and took it back to the Aggies’ 23-yard line. Hamilton dug in deep, forcing a turnover on downs to end the first half with the Warriors leading 8-7.

The Warriors came out encouraged to start third but were quickly shut down by the Aggie defense as West Point couldn’t gain enough yardage for the first down. Hamilton took less than a minute before the team exploded for a 60-yard pass, taking the Aggies to the Warriors’ 2-yard line.  Hamilton punched it in for the quick touchdown on three plays, giving them a 13-8 lead.

Less than two minutes later the Warriors’ Persall fought through tacklers to break the plane for the second time in the game, giving West Point a 15-13 lead. The Warriors completed the 2-point conversion as Kolton Easterwood connected with Brayden Martin, putting Hamilton in a 16-13 hole near the end of the third.

West Point’s defense came out and stood its ground, forcing the Aggies to punt on their first possession of the fourth. The Warriors were quick to capitalize, putting the ball in Persall’s hands and watching him break free for a 40-yard run, taking West Point into Hamilton territory.

West Point slowly ran down the clock until Easterwood snuck in the Aggie end zone on a quarterback keeper, putting the Warriors up 23-13 and the Aggies to bed.

West Point will take on Wilson in the Warriors’ home opener Friday, Sept. 1.

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