Teams battle in tourney
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
DECATUR - Marquez Jones rushed for three touchdowns and the Hartselle defense recorded nine sacks in a 21-19 loss to Austin Thursday in a pre-season game at Ogle Stadium.
And it left Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey with some mixed feelings heading into the opening week of the season.
Hartselle held a dominating lead in total offense with more than 300 yards compared to just 130 for the Black Bears. But the Tigers came up short on the scoreboard.
A bright area for Hartselle was its ability to hang on to the football. The Tigers didn’t turn over the ball once in the game with a fumble or an interception.
Hartselle quarterbacks Luke Bole and Will Lang combined to go 11-for-25 passing for the Tigers. But with four dropped passes and several missed throws, the Tigers’ passing was pretty solid. “Both quarterbacks did good things,” Godsey said. “If you take away those drops and missed receivers, we would have been about 11-for-19 and that’s where we need to be. We need to be around the 60 percent mark.”
Austin threatened early in the second quarter by driving to the Hartselle 31, but the Tigers’ defense came up with two straight sacks to end the threat.
Hartselle scored twice in the final three minutes of the half with a pair of 10-yard touchdown runs from Jones.
With a fourth-and-1 from the Austin 32, Jones reeled off runs of 12, 10 and 10 yards to open the scoring.
He added another score before the end of the half with a 10-yard run that was set up by a short Austin punt with 35 seconds remaining.
Jones rushed for 99 yards on 25 attempts for Hartselle.
Dylan Stephenson made the first extra point, but the second attempt was blocked and the Tigers held a 13-0 lead at the half.
Austin scored twice in the third quarter to take its first lead. The second touchdown came following a bad snap on a fourth down deep in Hartselle territory.
Austin’s Nico Best scored on a 23-yard swing pass to give the Black Bears a 21-13 advantage with 9:43 left in the game.
Jones scored on a 4-yard run with 2:03 left to trim Austin’s advantage to 21-19.
But the Hartselle two-point conversion pass fell incomplete near the goal line.
Hartselle’s defense stopped Austin on downs and got the ball back with 54 seconds remaing. But a fourth-down pass from Luke Bole to Malcom Fosett was short of the first down and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs with 29 seconds left.