Parker Sawyer finished with 212 total yards and two touchdown receptions in the Tigers’ 45-6 win over Hazel Green Friday night.
Sawyer led the team with 85 yards rushing and 70 yards receiving while also passing for 57 yards.
“Parker is a really good football player that we have underutilized,” said Hartselle coach Bryan Moore. “He is a dynamic athlete who has allowed us to be more explosive on offense.”
Moore was looking for his Tigers to get off to a faster start, as they have fallen behind early in their previous two games.
Ri Fletcher provided a much-needed spark, as he opened the game with an 80-yard kickoff return to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Hartselle got the ball back when the defense forced the Trojans into a turnover on downs, Hazel Green failing to convert on a fourth–and–five from the 35-yard line.
The Tigers were unable to convert a third–and–three from the 18-yard line and were forced to settle for a 34–yard Crawford Land field goal to extend the lead to 10-0 with 7:42 to go in the first quarter.
Hartselle’s defense extended the lead to 12-0 when the Trojans snapped the ball through the endzone for a safety with 6:04 left in the first.
Following a 31-yard R. Fletcher kickoff return, the Tigers started their next possession at the Hazel Green 38-yard line. They drove the ball to the 11-yard line but failed to convert on a third–and–nine. Lang extended the lead to 15-0 with his second field goal – this time from 28 yards – with 3:26 left in the first.
Hazel Green returned the Hartselle kickoff 88 yards to the Tigers’ nine-yard line to start their next possession. The Trojans lost eight yards on their first play when Hartselle’s Dominic Simmons sacked the Trojans’ quarterback. They scored their only points of the game two plays later on a nine-yard run to make the score 15-6 with 1:31 left in the first.
Hartselle’s JT Blackwood connected with Izayah Fletcher for a 15-yard touchdown on the next possession to extend the lead to 22-6 with 11:10 left in the second quarter. The drive’s big play was a 25-yard Blackwood to Trent Wright pass play to convert a third–and–five from the 40-yard line.
The Tigers recovered a Hazel Green fumble on the next play to give Hartselle the ball at the Trojans’ 12-yard line.
Hartselle failed to turn the turnover into points, as Blackwood’s third-down pass was intercepted by a leaping Hazel Green linebacker, who returned the ball to the 32-yard line.
The Tiger defense extended the lead to 24-6 by picking up the team’s second safety of the night on a snap over the punter’s head that he eventually kicked out the back of the endzone.
Hartselle extended the lead to 31-6 when Blackwood connected with wide-open Sawyer on a 43-yard touchdown pass with 6:58 left in the second quarter.
On the next possession, the Tigers looked to position themselves for another score following a Blackwood 29-yard completion to Eli Tidwell to move the ball to the Trojans’ 17-yard line. Hazel Green forced a second Hartselle turnover, however, by intercepting a Sawyer pass returned to the 20-yard line.
Hartselle extended the lead to 38-6 with 5:42 left in the third quarter when Mookie Moore scored on a four-yard run.
The Tigers capped off their scoring when Blackwood connected with Sawyer on a 26-yard touchdown pass for their second scoring connection of the game. The play extended Hartselle’s lead to 45-6.
Hartselle finished with 405 total yards of offense – 232 yards passing and 173 yards rushing. The Tigers improved to 3-1 on the road this season.
Hartselle (6-3, 4-2) travels to Buckhorn (4-5, 3-3) Friday night, with the game’s winner securing a spot in the upcoming post–season playoffs.