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Top ranked Austin too much for Hartselle

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

Coming in Hartselle knew what it would take to knock off the top ranked Austin Black Bears; unfortunately, for the Tigers they just couldn’t get it done. Hartselle had their chances, but costly penalties and mistakes thwarted their opportunities to take advantage against a tough Austin defense.

Hartselle knew the challenge they faced in four-star running back Asa Martin, and for all intensive purposes the Tigers managed to hold the Auburn commit in check. Martin rushed for just 105 yards during the game, which was well below his season average. However, it was Austin’s other star running back Antonio Robinson that did all the damage for the Black Bears. The senior had two big touchdown runs on the night of 62 yards and 63 yards that made all the difference in the game. “Hartselle had a great game plan,” Austin head coach Jeremy Perkins said. “They did a good job of being stingy on defense and wouldn’t let us break out in big plays.”

Meanwhile, Hartselle had their chances to get into the game, but failed to capitalize on them. The Tigers opened the game by moving into the shallow end of Austin’s territory, but they were forced to punt. After forcing a three and out, the Tigers got the ball at the Austin 29 thanks to a penalty. However, a sack on fourth down forced a turnover on downs.

Austin put together a 67-yard drive from there to take a 7-0 lead, capped by a 10 touchdown run by Martin. The Black Bears tacked on to that lead with the first of Robinson’s two touchdown runs to make it 14-0.

Hartselle seemed to get back into the game near the end of the second half when Taylor Easterling busted a huge touchdown run, but a crippling holding penalty brought the touchdown back and killed the Tiger’s momentum.

Austin added insult to injury to start the third quarter when Paxton Montgomery broke free on third and 13 for an 18-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 21-0.

Knowing they needed a score, Hartselle put together their best drive of the night. A pass interference by Austin put Hartselle at the Austin 30, and then a 27-yard run by quarterback Luke Godsey put the Tigers at the three.

This set up the wildest sequence of the night. Hartselle was pushed back to a third and 21 thanks to an offensive pass interference, but a personal foul on the next play gave the Tigers a first down at the 11. After moving the ball inside the five, a false start pushed the Tigers back. Hartselle’s last two plays of the drive ended in a sack and an incompletion as Hartselle turned over on downs for the second time deep in Austin’s area.

After that Robinson added his second score of the night to make it 28-0. Keondre Swoopes did get Hartselle on the board with a 73 yard touchdown run, but the Tigers still fell 28-6.

Hartselle was able to hold Austin, who is averaging 47 points per game, to less than 30 points for just the second time this season, but the Tigers just couldn’t find the answers on offense to get the job done. “We played as hard as we could play, I’m proud of our guys for that,” Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey said. “We played a good football team. We had our opportunities to make a run at but we didn’t cash them in. Give that credit to Austin.”

Hartselle will travel back to Ogle stadium again next Friday to take on the Decatur Red Raiders.