HHS scores 16 in fourth to beat Athens
ATHENS – If anyone felt like Hartselle would have an easy time repeating as state champions – let alone region champions, head football coach Bob Godsey has a message for him.
“This is Region 8 football,” Godsey said. “It’s tough every night. If you thought it was going to be easy, you don’t know Region 8.”
The No. 1 Tigers (3-0, 2-0) earned a hard-fought 23-8 win on the road at Athens Friday night, extending its winning streak to 18 games.
One of the key plays of the night came early in the fourth quarter with Hartselle trailing 8-7. The Tiger offense drove from its own 13-yard line all the way to the Athens 8, where the team faced a fourth down play.
Godsey called on his new kicker, Hunter Hammack, to give the Tigers the lead. This was the first time he ever faced a situation like this, but the senior delivered – just as his predecessor, Gavin Marsh, did so many times a year ago.
“I just focused and concentrated on what I had to do,” Hammack said. “(Once it left my foot) I knew it was going in. I was confident.”
That kick gave the Tigers a 10-8 lead and momentum.
Jaylan Jackson and the Tiger defense shut the door on the next Athens drive. He intercepted the Athens quarterback Harper Ward and returned it 53 yards for the touchdown, putting Hartselle up 17-8 with 9:25 to play.
Jackson said the quarterback hadn’t thrown his way all night, but his teammates had a feeling the ball was going to come his way.
“They hadn’t been throwing my way all night, but Tyler (Phillips) told me to be ready because they were going to throw a deep ball,” Jackson said. “We were just sitting back. I turned around and the ball was there.