Defense leads Tigers to 35-8 win over Jackson-Olin

The Hartselle Tigers used a solid defensive performance in their 35-8 win over Jackson-Olin this past Friday. They allowed only 60 yards, including just 25 in the first half when the Tigers led 20-0.

“The defense shined throughout the game,” coach Bryan Moore said. “We had a difficult challenge with Jackson-Olin’s skill guys, but the defense stepped up and shut down the Mustangs offense.”

After fumbling the ball on their opening possession, Hartselle got an interception by Drake Borden to give them the ball at the Hartselle 43-yard line. The Tigers drove to the 15-yard line before settling for a 32-yard Noah Yates field goal and a 3-0 lead with 4:17 left in the first.

On the kickoff, Hartselle forced a Jackson-Olin fumble that Chris Hutson recovered at the Mustangs 24-yard line. Four plays later, on a fourth and six, Landon Blackwood connected with Jayden Morris for an 18-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 2:07 left in the first.

The Tigers tacked on another field goal with 6:50 left in the first half following a penalty that wiped out a touchdown pass. Yates hit a 28-yarder for a 13-0 lead.

The Tigers closed out the first half with a 13-yard run by Lincoln Bryant to give Hartselle a 20-0 halftime lead.

After opening the second half with a missed field goal, the Tigers forced a safety on the Mustangs’ next possession to make the score 22-0 early in the third quarter.

The Tigers made the score 29-0 with 42 seconds remaining in the third when Ri Fletcher scored on a five-yard run. The score was set up by a Porter Simmons scoop and run that gave Hartselle the ball at the Mustangs 20 yard line,

Jackson-Olin finally scored with 9:17 remaining in the game when their quarterback connected with a wide receiver for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

The Tigers capped off the scoring with Jeremiah Jennings’ six-yard touchdown run with 1:40 left to make the score 35-8.

Lincoln Bryant led Hartselle with 72 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Ri Fletcher had 55 yards and a touchdown. Landon Blackwood finished 11/16 for 97 yards and a touchdown.

The defense had two sacks and 16 tackles for loss, with one interception and three fumble recoveries.

The Tigers will host rival Cullman next Friday to open region play. The Bearcats defeated Jasper 15-12 to move to 1-1 on the season.

“Cullman is a big rivalry for us, and I am glad they will be here for the first time in three years,” Moore said. “They will bring in a different look on offense after changing coaches in the offseason.”