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Tigers fly high over Eagles

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

It was quite the game Friday night as both the Hartselle Tigers and the Athens Golden Eagles stepped into region play.There was plenty of excitement including the reenactment put on by marines to honor the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. Athens traveled to Hartselle to take eon the Tigers. It took a while for both teams to get going, as it was definitely a defensive struggle early on. The first points of the game did not come until .15 seconds left in the first quarter as Athens’s quarterback and receiver connected a 69 yard touchdown to give the Golden Eagles the lead 7-0. Hartselle will still struggle to get the offense going early into the second quarter. Athens on the other hand managed to get back down to the Hartselle 34-yard line. However, the Tiger defense would step up and force Athens to punt after two big sacks. Hartselle would finally get on the board, as Zane Green would take it 45 yards to the house to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:14 left in the half. Hartselle wouldn’t stop there. After forcing Athens to turnover on downs, the Tigers would drive it down the field a cap it off with a Taylor Easterling touchdown giving the Tigers the lead 14-7 with 2:13 left in the half.

At the start of the second half Athens would drive the ball down the field all the way to the Tiger 15. However, Hartselle would come up with a sack and force its third turnover on downs of the night. The tiger’s offense would keep it going as Jordan Stover would take it 45 yards for the score giving Hartselle the 21-7 lead with 7:38 left in the third quarter. On the following possession, Andrew Nuss would pick off the Athens quarterback to give the Tigers great field position. However, the Tigers would be forced to turn it over on downs after a bad snap on fourth down. Athens would crank up the offense on the following possession as they would turn a fourth and one into a huge run down to the Hartselle three-yard line. However, in what was probably the highlight of the night, Hartselle would stop the Eagles on four straight plays at the one to make a huge goal line stand. Hartselle wouldn’t be able to battle out of its end zone however, and Athens would get great field position. Athens would once again make it down inside the red zone but Hartselle would come up with its fifth turnover on downs to stop the Eagles with 10:12 left in the game. After forcing an amazing sixth turnover on downs, Hartselle would seal the game with a 68 yard touchdown pass from Jake Tiffin to Kyle Hamlett to make the score 28-7 with 3:35 left in the game. Then, just for good measure, Trent Sivley would intercept an Athens pass and take it to the seven-yard line. Easterling would bang it in one play later giving the Tigers a 35-7 lead. Athens would manage to get one more score to make it 35-14 but it was all for none. Hartselle would take the win 35-14 and start 1-0 in region play.

After the game Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey was very pleased with his team. “We got down early and struggled but we kept fighting and grinding” Godsey said, “ I saw our players play with a lot of emotion and I like that.” Godsey would continue. “We have a long way to go and it will be tough but I think we can handle it.” Hartselle will have a bye week next week before taking on Decatur at Ogle stadium on September 18th. Athens will host Decatur next week.