Skip to main content

Arkansas Class 6A high school football team previews: Lake Hamilton hoping defense will land Wolves in upper echelon of West

The Wolves will rely on two-way star Justin Crutchmer.

SBLive is previewing the Arkansas high school football teams from the three largest classifications. Today, we feature the Lake Hamilton Wolves from the 6A-West Conference.

By Kyle Sutherland | Photo by Tommy Land  



Tommy Gilleran, Sixth season, 39-20 Record


Overall Record: 9-3

Conference Record: 5-2, T-Second in 6A West

Playoffs: Def. West Memphis 41-6 in first round; Lost to El Dorado 48-27 in quarterfinals


RB Owen Miller, UCA signee

RB Tevin Hughes, all-state

OL Dylan Horton, all-state, Ouachita Baptist signee

OL Chase Jessup, all-state, Arkansas State signee


Junior QB Easton Hurley - Hurley is expected to take over at quarterback.

Senior RB/DB Justin Crutchmer - After a great season on defense as a sophomore in 2020, Crutchmer moved over to offense last season and was spectacular, earning all-state rushing for 1,225 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Senior RB/MLB Kendrick Martin - After rushing for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns as a junior Martin is hoping to keep adding to his legacy both on offense and defense.

Junior TE/DL Cooper Kindt - Kindt drew praise from Gilleran as a player who could continue to develop into a college prospect.

Senior OL Brayden Aitken - The Wolves had two offensive lineman sign to play college football and Aitken will be the leader for a front that will look much different.

Junior OL/DL Lucas McCain - McCain should earn a starting spot on the offensive front.

Senior LB Izic Clenney - Clenney led the team with 99 tackles in 2021 along with 14 tackles for loss and is one of the main leaders for the linebacking corps.

Senior LB Jaymarrion Byrd - Byrd returns for his final high school season after 70 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, as a junior.


Lake Hamilton remains in the 6A-West for the 2022-24 conference cycle and is looking to bounce back after a tough finish to the 2021 season in which the Wolves lost three of their final four games following an 8-0 start. With private school powers Little Rock Christian and Pulaski Academy as new members, it will add an even bigger challenge to an already brutal league.

After star running back Owen Miller went down just a couple of games into the season, Justin Crutchmer was forced to contribute heavily both ways and answered the call averaging an incredible 10 yards per carry combining with Tevin Hughes to rush for over 2,600 yards and 36 touchdowns on an offense that totaled 37 points per game.

Hughes and Miller are both gone, along with offensive linemen Dylan Horton and Chase Jessup, so Crutchmer will be heavily relied on as the squad’s senior leader on offense as the team could take some time to gel with a revamped offensive line. The Wolves will also be breaking in a new quarterback in junior Easton Hurley who will take the reins from departed Grant Bearden.

Hurley saw time in eight games last season gaining valuable experience in Gilleran’s Wing T offense.

If the Wolves want to make another deep postseason run as they did in 2020 when they earned a postseason trip to Little Rock, they will most likely get there with great defensive play led by senior linebackers Izic Clenney, Jaymmarion Byrd, and Crutchmer. Kendrick Martin, who rushed for over 700 yards on offense and 5 touchdowns, will also be a key piece on defense.

Through the first five games of last season, the Wolves allowed just nine points per game but mostly struggled in all but two games during the final seven contests allowing 29 points each time out.


Gilleran acknowledged the “biggest part” of the 2022 season will be a heavy dose of Crutchmer offensively as the main key piece returning on that side from last season and that his players are anxious to respond from the way 2021 ended.