PLAY OF THE GAME: Early in the first quarter, Strom Thurmond running back Darius Hammond gave fans a taste of what they’d missed the past two weeks when he was sidelined by asthma-related health issues. Hammond took a handoff and quickly eluded two tacklers at the line of scrimmage before accelerating past two more and into the secondary, spinning off a few more defenders for a thrilling 24-yard gain. The run signaled Hammond’s return and what would be a long evening for the visiting Shamrocks.
STARS OF THE GAME: Hammond scored three times and rushed for 85 yards in mostly first-half action. Strom Thurmond quarterback Raleigh Yeldell passed for two scores and ran for another. Defensively, the Rebels didn’t allow a first down until the final minutes of the game.
WHY STROM THURMOND WON: The Rebels (8-0), ranked second in Class AA for most of the season, simply had too much speed and skill in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
WHY EAU CLAIRE LOST: The Shamrocks (0-8) had four turnovers on an interception and three fumbles, often handing an already potent Rebels offensive unit short fields to work with.
NEXT: Columbia at Eau Claire, 7:30 p.m., Friday; Gilbert at Strom Thurmond, 7:30, Friday.