A win for the agesPublished 5:46pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014
How Hartselle won its state fourth state championship is still one of the most remarkable things that I’ve ever seen covering high school sports over the last 11 years.
Here’s just a few of the things that I’ve seen.
• Four points in 15 seconds. Ten years ago, I covered Leeds wrestler E.J. Love who finished his senior season 50-0 with a state championship. But he had to overcome a 7-4 deficit in his final match in the last 15 seconds to finish his perfect season. He got a takedown and a near-fall as time ran out to win 8-7.
• 6-5 miracle. This was a football game, not baseball. In 2010, Reeltown’s Ki-Shawn Powell caught a deflected pass on fourth-and-24 for 26 yards, setting up the game’s only TD. Reeltown coach Jackie O’Neal: “You know a catch is a catch. It doesn’t say in the book you’ve got to use your hands. It just says you got to catch the ball and keep it from touching the ground.”
• The facemask call and catch. You should remember this one well. At Pinson Valley in 2011, Hartselle should have turned the ball over on downs, except that Deacon Aldridge was sacked using the facemask. That set up one of the best catches I’ve ever seen, when Aldridge lofted it up for Jeston Thompson who outjumped the more athletic defender for the catch. That set up Gavin Marsh’s game-winning field goal and sent the Tigers to its first football state title.
However, the emotion of this one play far exceeds everything I’ve ever seen before. Honestly, there wasn’t a dry eye on either side at the end of this game.
At first, I had no idea exactly what had happened. When the Moody player crashed through the fence and the ball that Hannah Jenkins hit went with them, I had no idea what the ruling was going to be.
Being where I was in the photographer’s box, I couldn’t see the umpire signal home run. It took seeing the Moody players crying to realize that Hannah had done it.
I don’t know if our players and fans, along with Moody’s players and fans, truly realize just how special that moment was until a few years from now.
Sports fans always want a championship to have that type of drama and spectacular plays. Rarely, does that ever happen, but when it does, it lives on forever in memories of everyone who witnessed it.
Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.