It was a bittersweet win for Section head coach Chris Hammon.
His Lions had to overcome a strong rally from Valley Head to defeat the Tigers 34-14 behind a stellar 269-yard rushing performance from Drake McCutchen. He also got a win against his older brother Charles Hammon who is the head coach for Valley Head.
Chris Hammon said it meant a lot to get a win against someone who has meant so much to him in his life and his coaching career.
“It’s bittersweet,” Chris Hammon said. “I’m his biggest fan and a lot of the success we are having right now is because of him. He’s taught me a lot and has always been there for me. I’m proud of our guys for the way they battled tonight and I’m proud for the win. I hope Valley Head goes 8-2 and wins out.”
Section (2-0) got off to a hot start by jumping out to a 20-0 lead in the first half. Jr. Walker scored the first touchdown of the night on an 8-yard run. Dominik Blair added the two-point conversion to give Section an 8-0 lead.
Valley Head answered with a promising drive but it ended with a Noah Hulgan punt that pinned Section inside its own five-yard line.
The victory was short lived as McCutchen scored on the next play on a 93-yard touchdown run. The two-point attempt failed and Section lead 14-0 with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
McCutchen scored on a 20-yard run with 9:01 remaining in the first half. The extra-point attempt failed and Section led 20-0.
Valley Head was determined to get back into the game.
Hernan Moreno got Valley Head on the board with a nine-yard run with 6:41 left in the first half. Hulgan added the extra point to cut the lead to 20-7.
Valley Head then got a big defensive stand with under five minutes to go in the half. With 20.8 seconds remaining in the half, Valley Head quarterback Eian Bain connected with Ashton Brown for an 8-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-3. Hulgan added the extra point to cut the lead to 20-14.
Valley Head continued its strong effort in the second half but didn’t find the end zone.
McCutchen sealed the win for Section with a 36-yard touchdown run with 11:10 remaining. Blair added the two-point conversion to make it 28-14.
Walker scored the final touchdown of the night for Section on a 3-yard run to make the final score 34-14.
“We had a chance at halftime but we couldn’t stop their quarterback,” Charles Hammon said. “They are a third-year team and they are very talented. My brother has done a great job and they are a great team.”
For Valley Head, Bain finished with 141 yards rushing. Brown added another 64 yards rushing.
For Section, McCutchen had three rushing touchdowns and a 25-yard pass completion. Walker had 62 yards rushing and Blair finished with 52 yards.
The win pushes Section to its first 2-0 start since the 2013 season.
› Will Gaines is a sports correspondent for The Times-Journal in Fort Payne.