It's up to Stover now
Nick Johnston, Sports Editor
It's all up to Nikita, now.
Nikita Stover's worst fear after Thursday's game was his foot was broken, now he knows it's a sprain.
"The doctor says it will be two weeks," head coach Bob Godsey said. "But, it's up to Nikita. It's up to how his body handles it, and handles the rehab. Some people can play in a week, others can't."
Stover injured his foot on the first play of the Decatur game. He caught two passes for 28 yards before donning a brace late in the third quarter.
So, with all signs pointing Stover to the bench for Friday night's game against Bradshaw, it's time for other players to step up even more than they have.
"We have to move on," Godsey said. "We can't force the issue, but we have to move on. This is a great opportunity for our guys to step up and make plays. When we get him back, it will make us that much more dangerous."
Godsey pointed to the likes of running backs Justin Youngblood and Isiah Herring, wide receivers Chris Wiley and Luke Mize, along with quarterback Seth Watson and the offensive line. Basically, the entire offense.
"To make it easy, we need everybody on offense to step up, regardless of who's out there," he said. "If we can do that, we are capable of winning out."
But the schedule is not favorable for "winning out."
Hartselle did it last year, but this season, Bradshaw is much better, and Cullman is considered by some the best team in Class 5A, let alone best in Region 8.
Add Athens to the mix, and it may be just as easy to lose three of its last four region games.
"If we don't step up, we'll have a tough time," Godsey said. "We just need to be where we are supposed to be and make plays."
Last week, Hartselle gave up 100+ to Decatur's Steve Shackelford. This week, possibly the best running back in the state will enter J.P. Cain Stadium – Daniel Jackson.
"Jackson is certainly a talented player," Godsey said. Jackson averages right at 150 yards per game rushing. "But, we need to be where we are supposed to be on defense. Then, we won't have to worry about it."
This may be one of the more crucial games in the region for Hartselle. Should the Tigers lose, they will have to win at least two of their last three against Coffee, Athens and Cullman. Godsey said all it will take is four wins.
"They won't be easy, but we need at least two win in the next four games," he said. Hartselle is 2-1 in Region 8 play, while Bradshaw sports the same record. "We'll play well Friday night. I believe it in my heart."