Tigers rush past Bearcats, 47-21
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Big time players make big plays in big games. Hartselle's Justin Youngblood made the biggest of the game Friday against Cullman, turning the momentum to the Tigers and leading them to a playoff clinching region win.
With the score tied a 21 and just over one minute to play until halftime, Youngblood broke off a 77-yard scamper to the Cullman 13-yard line to set up the go-ahead touchdown. Two plays later Gary Orr scored from three yards out to give Hartselle a lead they never relinquished.
Youngblood lived up to the pre-game comments of Cullman coach Mark Britton, who called the senior running back, "clearly one of the best backs in the state."
Youngblood finished the game with a career-high 289 yards and scored four touchdowns, in a 47-21 Hartselle victory.
With his big night, Youngblood surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the year. He now has 1,135 through seven games.
The Tigers dominated the second half of play, outscoring the Bearcats 20-0 behind two touchdowns from Youngblood and another from fullback Orr.
The Hartselle offense would finish with 440 yards rushing on 41 carries and gained 526 yards of total offense.
The Tigers jumped to a 14-0 in the opening quarter when Youngblood scored his first two touchdowns on runs of nine and 40 yards. Cullman would then answer back with 21 straight points in a span of five minutes and seven seconds.
The Bearcats' Daniel Munger scored on four and two-yard runs to tie the score, followed by a 28-yard pass from Carson Williams to Trent Walker with 6:28 left till halftime.
On the ensuing drive the Tigers marched 65 yards in seven plays to tie the game. Quarterback Seth Watson scored on a 16-yard run. When Patrick Whatley was true on the point-after the game was knotted at 21.
In the second half, Cullman could manage only three first downs and 43 yards of offense, as the Tiger defense clamped down on the Bearcats.
With the win the Tigers improve to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in 5A, Region 8 play. The win puts Hartselle in the postseason, and with two more region wins the Tigers would host a first-round playoff game. "This is big when you beat your big rival, but getting in the playoffs if bigger," Godsey said. "We want to get two more wins and let these seniors have a home playoff game."