Numbers not pretty
Nick Johnston, Sports Editor
Numbers don't lie.
Now I know reporters can sometimes get caught up in numbers – or stats – but here are a few numbers from Hartselle's game against Gardendale last Friday night.
133: Hartselle's total yardage, while giving up 279.
56: The number of yards on Hartselle's final drive of the game.
Own 48: Average start position for Gardendale.
Own 30: Average start position for Hartselle.
8: Number of Hartselle first downs.
4: Number of drives Hartselle held the ball for less than a minute.
3: Number of times Nikita Stover touched the ball. One kickoff return, one rush, and one interception.
Of course, Gardendale's defense had a lot to do with Stover not touching the ball. By game's end, there was a cornerback and two safety's keeping an eye on the Alabama-bound senior.
Then again, Stover did not have much of a chance of catching a pass, at least in the first half. The Tigers only held on to the ball for 8:45, while the Rockets held on for 15:15. For the game, time of possession was well in Gardendale's favor at 29:08 to 18:52.
Hartselle was beaten by a good team, though. In fact, Gardendale was the best team I had seen all season.
The Rockets running attack was solid, with both Chris Russell and A.J. Davis lowering their shoulders for extra yardage.
I've always heard the phrase "run downhill." Those two did.
Talking with head coach Bob Godsey following the game, he didn't appear as disappointed as some might think.
"We were just out-manned," he said. "They're a solid team."
Hartselle may have been out-manned this year, but next year will be a different story.
The Tigers are not graduating many, and with so many younger players getting experience this season, next year could be as magical as the 2002 season.
Either way, Godsey will have his Hartselle team ready to go starting in the spring. All signs point toward a succesful 2004 campaign.