Hartselle’s defense delivers
Tiger’s defense plays strong as Hartselle blanks Florence
When Hartselle began the offseason all the way back in January, Hartselle set many goals for their team that they felt had to be achieved in the 2016 season. One of those goals was start the season 4-0, which hadn’t been done since 2012. When Hartselle traveled to Florence on Friday Sep., 9th to take on the Falcons, the Tigers had a huge chance of achieving that goal. The game would turn into an old fashioned defensive struggle, but Hartselle was more than up for the challenge.
The Tigers got their offense going first as they took the opening kickoff and started marching down the field. The Tigers would move past midfield thanks to a pass interference call. Runs by Trevor Oakes and Jordan Stover would push the Tigers all the way to the Florence 15, but they would stall and be forced to settle for a field goal. Beau Nosal would knock it in from 34 yards out and give Hartselle the 3-0 lead.
The rest of the first quarter would be a back and forth struggle and neither team could gain an advantage. A run by Stover to put Hartselle in Florence territory would seemingly give them the momentum, but the Tigers would be forced to punt a few plays later. Hartselle would finally get it going early in the second quarter when Oakes found Mac Meyer to move past midfield. Oakes would keep it himself a few plays for a first down run to the Falcon 38 which would set up a 38 yard touchdown run by Stover to put Hartselle up 10-0.
Florence would receive some life late in the second when they returned a punt all the way inside the Hartselle 20 yard line but it would be called back for a blocking in the back penalty. The Falcons would finally move into Hartselle territory for the first time with less than a minute to go after starting from their own 42. However, they could still go nowhere and would punt just before halftime.
As the second half started, Hartselle would get a huge advantage when the Tigers jumped on a fumble at the Florence 11 yard line on just the second play of the half. The Tigers would then attempt a reverse pass on a third and goal, but the Falcons weren’t fooled and Hartselle had to settle for another Beau Nosal field goal to go up 13-0.
Florence’s biggest threat would come late in the third quarter. Sensing that their team needed some energy, the fans got behind the Falcons and after a controversial unsportsmanlike penalty was waived, the Falcons got the ball back with good field position. However, Florence could still find no answer for the tough Hartselle defense and would have to punt again.
Hartselle would threaten once more when Oakes found Luke Godsey, Seth Garner and Mac Meyer to push Hartselle inside the Florence 10 yard line. However, Hartselle would turnover on downs and leave without any points.
The Tiger defense would finish a strong game by closing the fourth quarter without allowing Florence to ever advance past the 40 as Hartselle took the win 13-0.
After the game, Head Coach Bob Godsey was pleased with his team’s effort and especially his defense’s fight. “How about that defense?” Godsey said, “We didn’t play very well on offense but we tell them all the time that the best offense is when you get one more point than the defense gives up.” Godsey would continue. “We pride ourselves on, when things aren’t going the way you want you find a way to win and that’s what we did tonight” Godsey said “Hopefully we got all our self afflicted wounds on offense out of the way because we got the Trojans rolling in next week.”
Hartselle will host Muscle Shoals this Friday night in what is a key region game for both teams as they are tied, along with Hazel Green, for first place. This game will also be one of the biggest of Coach Godsey’s career at Hartselle. Muscle Shoals currently holds a six game winning streak dating back to 2009 (the two did not play in 2010 or 2011). Hartselle feels that they are in the best position they’ve been in to end that streak after dealing with depth issues due to graduation for the past few years and the Hartselle fans know that ending the streak will be the biggest step for Hartselle in trying claim their first region title since 2011.
Player(s) of the game: The defense. On what was an off night for the Tiger offense, the defense rose to the challenge for their Team. Not only did the Tigers now allow a point but they only allowed Florence to get past the 50 twice and never did they allow them to get past the Hartselle 40. Senior defensive lineman Caleb Meyer was proud of the way he and his teammates played. “We kept our composure and didn’t get frustrated” Meyer said “we never allowed them to get the ball rolling and that helped us.”