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Tigers Fall to Trojans

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

One bad quarter is all it can take. That’s what The Hartselle Tigers found out when the hosted the Muscle Shoals Trojans Friday in a very important class 6a region eight matchup. The atmosphere was electric as fans from both schools packed out the stadium to watch the two gladiators do battle.

The action started out fast as Hartselle came out swinging. Quarterback Jake Tiffin would start the game with a big run to the Hartselle 41 yard line. Running Back Taylor Easterling would back that up with a big run of his own to the Muscle Shoals 38 yard line. Tiffin would then find his favorite target Tobias Mitchell for a big gain all the way to the one-yard line. Hartselle would bang it in a play later with an Easterling touchdown run to take the lead 7-0 with 7:02 left in the first.

Muscle Shoals would return the ensuing kickoff to midfield but a blocking below the waist penalty would bring it back to the 14. The Trojans would still manage to make it down the field as they busted a few runs to make it all the way to the Hartselle 30. Hartselle’s defense would hold strong and force a turnover on downs after a chop block penalty backed the Trojans up.

Hartselle would then pick up where it left off with big runs by Tiffin and Easterling to make it all the way to the shoals 38-yard line. However, Hartselle would suffer its first costly mistake of the game as a fumble stopped the Tigers advance and kept them from putting points on the board. Muscle Shoals would take advantage of the opportunity as they would march it down the field and quarterback Landon Smothers would walk in the end zone on the second play of the second quarter for a two yard score to tie the game 7-7. Hartselle would look to get back on track as they marched it right back down to the Trojan 28 yard line. However, the Tigers would falter once again, as penalties would push them out of field goal range and keep them from putting points on the board once again.

The rest of the half would feature a back and forth struggle as both teams tried to gain momentum. Hartselle would get the ball back at the 50 yard line but the tigers would suffer another costly mistake as a muffed punt would give the ball right back to the Trojans. Hartselle would manage to stop them but would be left with bad field position and inadequate time to be able to get back down the field before halftime.

As the third quarter began so did Hartselle’s nightmare. The Tigers would start off strong forcing a three and out on Shoal’s first drive. Hartselle would be unable to get anything going on offense however and be forced to punt. Kicking in the wind would prove to be very difficult as the wind would cause a shank and give the Trojans excellent field position at midfield. Landon Smothers would take it in two plays later from 51 yards out to give Muscle Shoals its first lead at 14-7.

Hartselle would struggle to get anything going on offense for the whole third quarter and the Trojans would make them pay. Carlos Davis would bust a 38-yard run to put Shoals up 21-7. Landon Smothers would also tack on his third of the night to make the score 28-7 at the end of the third after Muscle Shoals picked off Jake Tiffin at the Hartselle 38. Hartselle would refuse to give up however as they would give a valiant effort and fight until the end. The lead proved to be too much to overcome however as the Tigers fell 28-7 to the Trojans.

After the game head coach Bob Godsey knew his team just didn’t have it in the second half. “If it could have went wrong it did in the second half” Godsey said “We played hard but give them credit they came out in the second half and raised their level and we didn’t.” Godsey remained very optimistic about his team though. “We got three big game left in the region and were going to win them. The Tigers are still very much in the hunt for a good region finish as they are still tied for second with the Cullman Bearcats. Hartselle will travel to Cullman next Friday at 7 p.m.

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