Tigers run past No. 10 Muscle Shoals 35-9
The Tigers came into their game with Muscle Shoals knowing that they needed a win to keep their play–off hopes alive – which they achieved handily.
Muscle Shoals came out looking like the most desperate team and dominated the majority of the first half. Despite being outplayed by the Trojans, however, the Tigers only found themselves down by nine points with 3:04 left in the first half.
“We had another bad first quarter, but we knew we had opportunities to score, and we kept working,” said Hartselle coach Bryan Moore.
That determination led to a 35-9 win for Hartselle.
The Tigers started to climb back in the game 28 seconds later when freshman Ri Fletcher busted up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown run to cut the Trojan lead to 9-7 with 2:36 left in the second quarter. The run was the longest of the season for the Tigers.
“Ri’s performance was big for us,” said Moore. “He is a special talent and will be a big-time player for us the rest of the season.”
Following a Muscle Shoals punt, the Tigers started their next drive at the Trojans’ 48–yard line with 1:43 left in the half. Four plays later, Mookie Moore scored on a 28-yard run to give Hartselle its first lead of the game, 14-9, with 41.6 seconds left.
The Tigers gained 119 yards on their final two drives of the first half after being outgained 186-55 by the Trojans.
Hartselle extended the lead to 21-9 with a minute left in the third quarter when EJ Colbert scored on a five-yard run. Colbert, a defensive lineman, lined up in the backfield in the quarterback position and followed his lead blocker, Kelvin Morris, and fellow defensive lineman into the endzone.
The Tigers extended their lead to 28-9 when Parker Sawyer scored on a 40-yard run with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter. The drive was set up by an Eli Tidwell 27 –yard punt return to the Trojan 41–yard line.
“We used Sawyer in a lot of ways tonight,” said Moore. “He lined up as quarterback and receiver. He had a lot of quality plays for us tonight.”
Dominic Simmons gave Hartselle the ball back when his intercepted a Muscle Shoals pass and returned it 21 yards to the Trojan 15–yard line. On the next play, Fletcher scored his second touchdown on a 15-yard run to push the Tigers’ lead to 35-9 with 6:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Hartselle finished with 407 yards of total offense, with 299 coming on the ground and 108 through the air.
Fletcher led the Tigers’ rushing attack with 122 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, while Sawyer ran for 74 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Moore finished with 47 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
“Tonight’s performance went a long way in increasing our confidence. Our young team did some growing up tonight,” said Moore. “Tonight’s win was huge for us. Muscle Shoals is a good team.”
Hartselle (5-3, 3-2) travels to Hazel Green (2-5, 0-5) Friday night.