Hartselle returns to playoffs after defeating Buckhorn 52-7
The Hartselle Tigers traveled to Buckhorn with a trip to the postseason on the line. They entered the game on a two-game win streak and had won five out of seven since falling to Cullman to open region play.
The Tigers put together their best game of the season to wrap up a play–off spot, a 52-7 win over the Bucks.
The Tigers dominated the first half, as they scored on five of their seven possessions to take a 31-0 lead into halftime.
“We played extremely well in the first half,” said Hartselle Coach Bryan Moore. “We played well in all phases of the game.”
Crawford Lang got Hartselle on the scoreboard first with a 41-yard field goal. A couple of minutes later, Parker Sawyer connected with Izayah Fletcher for a 56-yard touchdown to put Hartselle up 10-0.
Sawyer added to the Hartselle lead with 10:51 left in the second when he connected with Sage Smothers for a 13-yard touchdown, and the Tigers extended their lead again with 4:10 left in the second when JT Blackwood hit Ri Fletcher for a 29-yard touchdown.
Three minutes later, Mookie Moore scored on a four-yard run to push the Hartselle lead to 31-0.
Hartselle piled up more than 300 yards of total offense in the first half while limiting the Bucks to less than 50 total yards. The defense had nine plays that ended in negative yardage for Buckhorn, including three sacks.
The Bucks scored their only points of the game with 6:43 left in the third on a 35-yard touchdown pass to cut the Hartselle lead to 31-7.
Coleman Mizell intercepted a Buckhorn pass on the Bucks next drive and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to push the Hartselle lead to 38-7 late in the third quarter.
Jakaleb Goodwin picked off a Buckhorn pass at the 18-yard line to stop a Bucks drive and give the ball back to the Tigers. Eight plays later, Moore scored his second touchdown of the game on an eight-yard run with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter. The score extended the lead to 45-7.
The Tigers capped off their scoring with 1:50 left in the fourth when Jack Smith scored on a 30-yard run to make the score 52-7.
Hartselle outgained Buckhorn 511 yards to 197. The Tigers finished with 326 yards rushing and 185 yards passing.
Sawyer finished the game with 121 yards passing and two touchdowns and added 50 yards rushing on seven carries. Blackwood was three of eight for 52 yards and a touchdown, while Smith was two of two for 12 yards.
- Fletcher led the Tigers in rushing with 91 yards on10carries, while Moore added 85 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. Smothers ran for 33 yards on five carries, and Smith had 31 yards and a touchdown on one carry.
- Fletcher had four receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown to lead Hartselle receivers. R. Fletcher had three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.
The defense finished with four sacks and two interceptions in holding the Bucks to less than 200 yards of total offense. E.J. Colbert, Trayce Oden and Jake England each had a sack, while Brian Torbert and Issac Osteen combined for the fourth.
“The number of things that this group of young men and coaches have overcome this season – from injuries to COVID to three head coaches in three years,” said Moore. “I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far.”
Hartselle (7-3, 5-2) will have the week off before traveling to Briarwood Christian to open the playoffs.