Previewing Hartselle vs. Hazel Green

Hartselle Enquirer

After stepping out of region play last week, Hartselle will again be back on the road this week as they come back into region play against the Hazel Green Trojans. Hartselle is currently first in Region 8 with a 3-0 record in region play thanks to wins over Athens, Florence and Muscle Shoals. Hazel Green is currently tied for second in Region 8 along with Austin, Decatur and Muscle Shoals. The Trojans have a 2-1 region record with wins over Columbia, Austin and a loss to Decatur.

Last week: Both teams went out of region  as Hazel Green traveled to Sparkman and Hartselle traveled to Russellville. Hazel Green fell behind Sparkman 20-7 but reeled off 20 unanswered points to take the win 27-20. Meanwhile, Hartselle took a quick 28-10-halftime lead, but Russellville managed to comeback to tie the game 38-38. Hartselle went on to score a game-winning touchdown with less than 20 seconds to take the win 45-38.

Hartselle comes into this game with one of the most explosive offenses that has ever come through Hartselle. The Tigers are averaging 33 points a game and have only been held below 20 points once this season. Hartselle quarterback Trevor Oakes has thrown for 547 yards and has accounted for seven touchdowns in the past two games. The Tigers will still be without leading rusher Jordan Stover who was injured in the Muscle Shoals game and will be out for an extended period of time. The Tiger’s defense has been formidable this year, as they didn’t give up more than 20 points in regulation in each of their first five games. However, Hartselle did give up 31 points to the Russellville Golden Tigers so they will be looking to rebound against Hazel Green.

Hazel Green comes in with an explosive offense as well. First year starting quarterback Jordan Seymour has done well so far in both passing and rushing the ball but has shown a tendency to make mistakes which included throwing three interceptions against Decatur. The Trojans have also been very inconsistent so far this season. In their biggest win, which was against Austin, the Trojans built a 38-3 lead before almost blowing it. A last second touchdown saved the day as they won the game 44-42. The following week saw the Trojans turn the ball over 4 times in a 15-point loss on the road vs. Decatur. Defensively, the Trojans boast a strong linebacking corp but have been know to give up plenty of points including 35 to Buckhorn, 27 to Decatur and 42 to Austin.

Players to watch: Aside from the quarterbacks, this game will display several exciting players. For Hartselle on offense, Seth Garner has exploded on the scene for the Tigers. The senior receiver has had two big games in a row. Garner has totaled three touchdowns in two games and has had receptions of 50 plus yards in each game. He has also shown to be reliable for third down situations. On defense, Caleb Meyer, Shamaud Swope and Colin Springer will be the players to watch. One of Hazel Green’s best strengths is their offensive line. Seeing how the Hartselle defensive line matches up with be a good test. The Tiger’s defensive front has recorded plenty of sacks and tackles for loss this season and has made it hard for any team to run the football.

For Hazel Green the players to watch will be Sam Arnold and Miles Battle. Arnold is a 6-5 tight end that is currently committed to UAB and can create a matchup problem in the red zone. Battle is the middle linebacker who currently holds offers from Cincinnati, Troy and Georgia State. He leads the team in sacks.

Past games: Hartselle and Hazel Green have met in each of the last two seasons. Although, Hazel Green hasn’t fielded the best teams, they have given the Tigers trouble as both games came down to the wire.

Overall, this is an ultra important Class 6A Region 8 matchup and is sure to be one of the most exciting games in North Alabama. Hartselle will be traveling to Hazel Green.

 

 

 

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