Hartselle advances to quarterfinalsPublished 11:01pm Friday, November 16, 2012
Hartselle (8-4) will be making its sixth trip to the quarterfinals in the past seven years next week after the Tigers defeated Wenonah (10-2) 28-6 at J.P. Cain Stadium.
But you wouldn’t know it by the reaction of the Hartselle Tiger players. It’s just the same reaction the Tigers have had to any win this season.
“We’ve played in a lot of big games, especially in the regular season this year,” said Nick Beach, who caught two touchdown passes against the Dragons. “We expect to be here.”
However, the accomplishment isn’t easily brushed aside by head coach Bob Godsey.
“That says a lot about a lot of kids,” Godsey said. “Not a lot of people can say that.
“We had great plan, and our kids executed that plan,” Godsey said. “This may have been the game offensively that we’ve had all year.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Hartselle was able to contain Wenonah quarterback Barry Johnson. In fact the lone score for the Dragons came on a 95-yard kickoff return by Nicolas Jackson.
“Everybody had to step up tonight, “Defensively, we had to have 11 guys where they were supposed to be to have a chance and we did that. We had great rush from the outside and good pressure from the linebackers at time. Our secondary played excellent.
“Offensively, to be able to run the ball with eight guys in the box, we had to have good blocking up front. To be able to throw the ball like that, we had to block some guys to give him time to make the throws,” Godsey added. “I’d hate to mention anybody specifically because everybody had to do their job tonight.”
Junior linebacker Waid Miller, who had an interception and a sack in the game, said the reason why Hartselle is peaking at the right time because the hard work they put in before the season ever began.
“We’re just all playing lights out as a team,” said linebacker Waid Miller. “It just goes back to all those hot summer workouts – fighting, sweating and bleeding. It all goes back to that.
“We’re just ready to go play next week.”
The Tigers will get a rematch at No. 1 Muscle Shoals next week after the Trojans rallied to beat Pinson Valley 22-21 Friday night. Hartselle fell to the Trojans 28-21 in Week 6.
Deacon Aldridge got the Tigers off to a quick start. Taking advantage of a four-yard punt, Aldridge connected with Sidney Steele for a 19-yard touchdown pass on the drive’s first play.
Jack Waterman added the extra point to give Hartselle the early 7-0 lead.
Jackson answered with his kickoff return, but the extra point failed, leaving Hartselle up 7-6.
From there, Hartselle never looked back.
Aldridge hooked up with a wide open Beach, who outran the defenders for a 57-yard touchdown to make it 14-6 late in the first quarter.
Moments before halftime, Miller gave Hartselle one more chance to put points on the board as he intercepted Johnson’s pass.
Beach and Aldridge connected on another touchdown pass, this time from six yards out, to make the halftime score 21-6.
The Tigers put the game away early in the fourth quarter with Aldridge’s fourth TD pass of the night. It was a three-yard pass to Tanner Oakes.
Aldridge finished with 147 yards on eight of 12 passes with four touchdowns and just one interception. He also added 39 yards on the ground.
Blake Slayton finished with 50 yards rushing while Masio Stover also had 48 yards on the ground.
Beach led Hartselle’s receivers with two receptions for 63 yards and two scores. Preston Adams also had two catches for 38 yards. Thomas Fleischman had a sack while Dakota Youngblood and Connor Shelton combined for a sack.