Jackson jolts Tigers
Hartselle falls to Jackson and the Bruins, 13-9
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
It was a danged if you do and a danged if you don't situation for Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey.
With about two minutes remaining in Friday's game against Bradshaw, the Bruins faced a fourth and one on their own 44-yard line. Godsey called a time-out to talk about what defense they would run, but little did he know Bradshaw coach Gary Horton had almost decided to punt it away and put the game in his defense's hands.
During the time-out, Horton decided to go for the first down, and sealed another Bruins win.
Hartselle fell to Bradshaw 13-9 in an important Class 5A, Region 8 held at J.P. Cain Stadium. The Tigers are now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the region.
On that fourth and one play, Daniel Jackson took the handoff and went up the middle for two yards and a first down.
"It's not that I had that much confidence in our running game, it's that I had that much confidence in our kids," Horton said. "It took a time-out for me to remember that."
Jackson rushed 37 times for 172 yards a touchdown against Hartselle. The Tigers gained just 151 yards as a team.
"We just didn't make enough plays," Godsey said. "We're in a tough stretch of the season, and we need to decide which way we are going to go. This team will fight back, though. I know they will."
Several missed tackles and dropped passes ultimately led to the loss for Hartselle. Quarterback Seth Watson completed 9 of 26 passes for 76 yards, but that number could be misleading. At least six passes were dropped during the course of the game.
The two teams fought to a scoreless tie in the first quarter, but a pass interference midway through the second quarter spring-boarded Bradshaw to a touchdown.
On third and 10 during the 15-play drive, quarterback Danyiel Beckwith threw a pass down the visiting sideline. The throw was out-of-bounds and 10-yards in front of his receiver, but an interference call on Justin Youngblood gave the Bruins a first down at Hartselle's 28-yard line.
Six plays later, Jackson rushed in from two-yards out, as Bradshaw took a 7-0 lead.
That score remained until late in the third quarter when Patrick Whatley kicked a 27-yard field goal. The score capped a 16-play, 61-yard drive.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bradshaw fumbled, and Youngblood recovered the loose ball.
Momentum shifted, and running back Isiah Herring took off for 26-yards on the team's first play after the fumble. On second and goal, Watson hit Youngblood for a five-yard touchdown.
Unfortunately for Hartselle, stopping the Bradshaw running game was impossible. The Bruins took control with 11:18 remaining in the game and went 14 plays – all runs – and scored with 5:51 remaining. Courtney Moore scored from three yards out to make what would be the final, 13-9.
Hartselle's drive stalled after it could not convert a fourth and inches play on Bradshaw's 34-yard line.
As a team, Bradshaw gained 284 yards on the ground.
"The offensive line did well," Horton said. "And they (Hartselle) were over-pursuing some, and you bank on that sometimes they do.
"I'm just tickled to death to get out of here with a win."
The win gives Bradshaw a leg up on the third spot in the region, with Hartselle, Muscle Shoals and Athens all vying for the final playoff spot.