Tigers score 13 points in second half to clinch first football title
TUSCALOOSA – Hartselle coach Bob Godsey knew it would only take two field goals to beat Vigor. He was right.
The Tigers made two second half field goals and added a game-clinching touchdown late in the game to beat Vigor 13-3 and win their first football state championship in school history.
Trailing 3-0 at halftime, running back Blake Slayton said Godsey told the team that all they had to do was go out execute well enough to get the six points on the board and win the game.
“He just told us that all we needed was two field goals,” Slayton said. “That’s just what we did in the second half. We got ourselves into position and won the game.”
Gavin Marsh hit a 38-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie it, missed a 48-yarder early in the fourth quarter by a couple of yards but then made a 47-yarder with 1:46 to go in the game.
“I just tried to hit the second one harder than the first one and I am glad it landed on the other side of the crossbar instead of in front of it,” Marsh said.
Then, the Tiger defense held Vigor without a first down on the next four plays, setting up Slayton’s 12-yard run with 1:04 to play to ice the game. Slayton finished with 79 yards on 18 carries.
Godsey said he knew he could rely on his defense led by defensive coordinator Larry Peck.
“I knew we could hold them the rest of the game because the best defense in this state resides in Hartselle, Alabama,” Godsey said. “That’s no offense to Vigor or Coach Stephenson, but we felt like we are the best defense in the state.”
After getting injured on the game’s second drive, game MVP Deacon Aldridge said he tweaked his ankle and knee on a quarterback scramble. But that pain wouldn’t keep him out of the game.
“The only way I wouldn’t have finished the game was if they took me out of here on a stretcher,” Aldridge said.
That heart and determination allowed him to pick up 67 yards and manage the Tiger offense the rest of the way.
When asked about what that pain felt like after the game, he answered, “No comment.”
The Tigers had their chances in the first half, but a fumble and an interception left Hartselle with no points on two trips in the red zone. Vigor mounted a 12-play, 75-yard drive right before the half, aided by a roughing the kicker penalty.
Marlon Moore hit a 28-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in the first half, but that would be the last chance Vigor got until it was too late.