Hammond linebacker Saul Diaz flashed a grin at the Porter-Gaud sideline early in the second quarter and spoke succinctly.
“It’s over,” Diaz relayed with confidence. “It’s already over.”
Diaz’s words proved true as Hammond rolled through Porter-Gaud, 42-14, Friday in a SCISA showdown.
It was the 19th straight win for the defending state champion Skyhawks, who at 7-0 now own sole possession of first place in SCISA AAA.
“We knew how important these games (in Charleston) would be,” said Hammond coach Erik Kimrey, whose team dealt defending AA state champion First Baptist its first loss of the season two weeks ago on James Island. “Our guys are committed to improving every week and I think we’re seeing that right now.”
Porter-Gaud (6-1) entered averaging better than 400 yards of offense per game. Hammond limited the Cyclones to just 143 total yards, even with four-star defensive tackle Alex Huntley sidelined with an ankle injury.
Cyclones quarterback Gunnar Nistad’s first two throws of the game were intercepted. Both led to quick touchdown runs from Jordan Burch. Burch’s first was a 10-yard march with Cyclones draped over him. His second was a 2-yard plow through the heart of the defense.
“We just never got into our game after that,” Porter-Gaud coach Rick Reetz said. “Our offense is all about rhythm. It’s all about the reads we’re getting and the keys we’re getting. We did some things we probably shouldn’t have done against a team like this. You almost have to play a perfect game and we were far from perfect today.”
Porter-Gaud had allowed just 36 total points through its first six games. But Hammond junior quarterback Jackson Muschamp, son of South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, threw three touchdowns in the final nine minutes of the second quarter to break open a 35-0 lead before halftime.
Muschamp first hit Andre Wilson on a 70-yard go route. He found Cleo Canty on a 33-yard strike less than four minutes later and then lofted up an 80-yard score three minutes after that. Muschamp finished with 308 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-23 passing.
“He’s evolving as a quarterback,” Kimrey said. “He threw the deep ball really well tonight and did a beautiful job of stepping up into the pocket and buying some time.”
Porter-Gaud found its first score on a 2-yard run by Caleb Pierce with six minutes left to play. Hammond fumbled on its ensuing possession, which the Cyclones returned 16 yards for their second score.
Hammond beat Porter-Gaud by the same 42-14 margin in the second round of the playoffs last season.
“They were a little better and a little faster today than we’ve seen,” Reetz said. “A lot to learn from tonight.”
Porter-Gaud will visit Augusta Christian next week, while Hammond travels to Laurence Manning.