Hartselle falls to Decatur

Tiger’s flat second half leads to route

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

If you can’t elevate your game, it’s hard to win. That was the lesson the Hartselle Tigers learned as the welcomed the Decatur Red Raiders to J.P. Cain stadium on Friday Oct. 14. The Tigers were coming off their first loss of the season in a close matchup with the Austin Black Bears and were hoping to get back on track against Decatur. This game brought in huge region stakes as both teams along with Austin and Muscle Shoals were all tied for first in class 6A Region 8. This game would shape up the playoff picture in a big way.

Hartselle took the ball first and immediately began to drive down the field. Quarterback Trevor Oakes would connect with Seth Garner to help move them to the Decatur 36. Hartselle would roll the dice on a fourth and short and hand it to Keondre Swoopes who came up just an inch short of the first down. Decatur would take the ball and quickly move down the field as quarterback Alec Marks squeaked through and broke a 37-yard run to the Hartselle 27. Ladarious Woods would bang it in a few plays later to give the Raiders the lead 7-0.

Hartselle would get the ball back and move right back down the field as Oakes connected with Garner and Garrett Wade to move to the Decatur 30. However, the Tigers would be forced to settle for a Beau Nosal field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. Meanwhile, Decatur would keep the foot on the gas on offense as they marched down the field inside the Tigers 10. It looked as if Hartselle would hold on third down as they had the Raider’s play covered up but Marks would scramble long enough for Woods to slip through for a touchdown catch to make the score 14-3.

Hartselle would answer on the next drive as Oakes connected with Wade and then carried to help move the Tigers inside the 20. Oakes would find Connor Burks a few plays later for a 5 yard score to cut the lead to 14-10.

The score wouldn’t stay that way for long, however as Alec Marks broke through on the next drive for a 58 yard score to put the lead back to 21-10. Hartselle would answer just before halftime as Taylor Easterling carried it in for the score to cut the lead to 21-16.

As the second half started, so did the bad luck for Hartselle. The Tigers would start out the half by forcing a punt. However, on the next drive Oakes would take a shot downfield, which would be picked off. Decatur would then find the end zone on a trick play to put the score at 28-16.

After forcing Hartselle’s first punt of the game, Decatur would tack on more points as Ladarious Woods scored his third touchdown of the game to put Decatur up 34-16. The bad half would continue for Hartselle, as Oakes would be picked off on the next drive when his pass went through the receiver’s hands and into the hands of a Decatur defensive back. The Red Raiders would make them pay when Marks connected with Charlie Cushing to make the score now 41-16. Hartselle would try to fight back as Easterling carried for another score and Oakes connected with Burks again but the Tigers would still fall 41-29.

After the game, Hartselle Head Coach Bob Godsey was not pleased with his team’s play. “We’ve kind of lost are mojo a little bit. We’ve lost two good teams that have played well and we haven’t” Godsey said “we’ve been in two good games and we haven’t raised our level of play while our opponents have and that’s what concerns me the most.”

With the loss, Hartselle’s chances of hosting a first round playoff game are slim. The Tigers will need a win next week at Columbia along with a lot of help to finish second in the region.

Player of the game. Connor Burks. In a game where not a lot went right, Burks play shined through. Burks finished with his first multi-touchdown game of the season and proved while he is a valuable player in the Tiger’s passing attack.

 

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