Hartselle falls in OT to Pinson Valley

PINSON – Saul Rios made a 19-yard field goal, barely, in overtime to give Pinson Valley a 23-20 win to eliminate Hartselle in the first round of the playoffs.

Rios had an adventure kicking the football in the game, having an extra point blocked and then missing a field goal that didn’t even get off the ground. On the last play of the game, Hartselle partially blocked Rios’ kick but it still managed to go over the crossbar to give the Indians the win.

That came after Hartselle’s field goal attempt in overtime sailed wide.

Head coach Bob Godsey said his team just couldn’t put the game away.

“We just got to find a way to come up with one more play,” Godsey said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t do that tonight, but we played as hard as we could play.

“They snuck one in there and it’s just one of those things. We’ll feel better about it down the road sometime, but this one’s going to sting for a while.”

Hartselle led 20-13 through most of the fourth quarter after Jack Waterman’s 41-yard field goal on the first play of the final stanza. That capped a 16-play, that began on Hartselle’s five-yard line before the six-minute mark of the third quarter.

Pinson Valley took advantage of an interception by Juray Smith with about four minutes left in the game. Desmond Williams tossed a 35-yard completion to Smith.

That set up Nick Gibson’s 17-yard touchdown run. Rios was true for the extra point to tie the game with 2:11 remaining in regulation.

Hartselle got on the board first in the game thanks to Jake Tiffin’s 67-yard touchdown pass to D’Andre Mack. Waterman added the extra point.

Pinson tied the game on Williams’ 26-yard pass to Spencer Underwood. with Rios’ extra point.

Hartselle responded with a long drive of mostly Masio Stover runs. Waterman’s 21-yard field goal gave Hartselle a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Williams then found Nathan Cunningham for a 31-yard touchdown strike, giving Pinson a 13-10 lead.

Tiffin answered with a seven-yard touchdown of his own, this time to Tobias Mitchell to give Hartselle its 17-13 lead at the half.

However, Hartselle just couldn’t pull away despite dominating the time of possession in the second half.

Stover led the way for Hartselle with 96 yards rushing on 26 carries while Mack had 64 yards rushing on 20 carries and 81 yards receiving on three catches. Tiffin finished with 90 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Gibson was the workhorse for Pinson Valley, gaining 134 yards on 31 carries with a touchdown. Of that, more than 100 yards came in the second half.  That put his rushing total over 2,000 yards for the season.

Williams finished with 151 yards passing for two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Hartselle’s Zeth Malcolm accounted for both interceptions.

Godsey said he was proud of his team’s effort throughout the entire season, fighting through adversity all year long.

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Godsey said. “Once the sting of this wears off, they’re going to be really proud of this year. They should be.”

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