|Photo from the McDonough Voice.com|
By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
Western Illinois' Nikko Watson rushed for 108 yards while Hampton turned the ball over nine times as the Leathernecks routed the Pirates 42-9 in the season opener for both teams Thursday night.
Watson opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point conversion, to put Western Illinois (1-0) up 8-0 early in the first quarter.
Hampton (0-1) eventually had a chance to tighten a close game early in the third quarter as they were down just 15-6 and had the ball inside the Leathernecks' 10-yard line. But quarterback Jaylian Williamson threw the first of his two interceptions which was returned 97 yards for a touchdown by Western Illinois' Dallas Nichols.
Six minutes later, backup quarterback Brian Swain (who also had two interceptions) threw a pick that was returned 12 yards for another Leathernecks touchdown. By the end of the assault, Western Illinois had scored 34 unanswered points to go up 42-6 by the middle of the fourth quarter.
Williamson finished 6-of-14 for 113 yards, a touchdown and his two interceptions. Hampton played three quarterbacks with each throwing two picks (Bryan Bailey attempted six passes).
Hampton's next game is at William & Mary on Sept. 7, while Western Illinois hosts Quincy the same day.