Hartselle "Black Beared"
Tigers squander 14-point lead; questionable call in overtime gives Austin 20-14 win.
Hartselle was just inches away from beating Austin – twice.
The Tigers and new head coach Bob Gosey fell to Austin for the third consecutive year, blowing a 14-0 lead to lose 20-14 in overtime.
"We had every opportunity in the world," Godsey said. "We've got nobody to blame but ourselves. They made more plays down the stretch than we did."
Patrick Whatley's 34-yard field goal bounced off the upright with less than six minutes remaining in the game that would have put the Tigers ahead 17-0. Later in overtime, a Seth Watson pass to Luke Mize for an apparent touchdown was called incomplete after bouncing off the ground, according to the officials.
But not according to Mize and the head coach.
"It hit me in the gut," Mize said. "I had my hands on the ground … I know I got it."
"I thought he caught it," Godsey said. "But, you go back to before that play. You make plays along the way so you don't get in that situation. We thought we had come up with the big play to win it, but when it's taken away from you, that hurts."
Hartselle's first touchdown came by way of Nikita Stover. The Alabama-bound senior rushed nine yards on a reverse to give the Tigers their first lead.
However, Stover was later ejected for his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of the game and had to sit the entire fourth quarter.
Just before halftime, after Chris Wiley intercepted a pass and returned it inside the 10-yard line, Watson found Wiley in the endzone, as Hartselle took a 14-0 lead into the locker rooms.
Austin scored its first touchdown of the night with 4:53 remaining in the game. Jacob Sutton, who completed 23 of 36 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns, hit Martin Warren for a 33-yard touchdown strike.
Martin caught 16 passes for 191 yards in the game.
Sutton found tight end Jeremy Durrance with just :37 remaining in the contest to draw within 14-12. The two-point conversion was good and forced overtime.
On Austin's first play in overtime, Sutton found Martin one last time for a 10-yard score. "I'll take my share of the blame," Godsey said. "We just need to learn our lessons and move on from it."
As a team, Austin out-gained Hartselle 291-263 in total yards.
Individually, Isiah Herring rushed 19 times for 105 yards, while Watson completed 8 of 23 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.
How They Scored
Hartselle – Nikita Stover 9-yard run (5:26 1Q) Whatley kick.
Hartselle – Seth Watson 9-yard pass to Chris Wiley (:28 2Q) Whatley kick.
Austin – Jacob Sutton 33-yard pass to Martin Warren (4:53 4Q) Kick failed.
Austin – Jacob Sutton 10-yard pass to Jeremy Durrance (:32 4Q) Conversion good.
Austin – Jacob Sutton 10-yard pass to Martin Warren (Overtime) Kick failed.
Rushing yards 43 140
C-A-I 23-36-2 8-23-1
Passing yards 248 123
Total yards 291 263
Fumbles lost 1 0
Rushing: Austin – Brandon Gladney 12-89, John Viers 2-3, Jacob Sutton 5-(-49). Hartselle – Isiah Herring 19-105, Nikita Stover 5-35, Seth Watson 5-4, Justin Youngblood 2-(-4).
Passing: Austin – Jacob Sutton 23-36-2, 238 yards, 3 touchdowns. Hartselle – Seth Watson 8-23-1, 123 yards.
Receiving: Austin – Martin Warren 16-191, Jazz Pettus 4-38, Caracus Orr 1-16, Cameron Gregg 1-12, Jeremy Durrance 1-10, Martavius Orr 2-8. Hartselle – Nikita Stover 2-41, Chris Wiley 3-30, Luke Mize 1-25, Justin Youngblood 4-27.