Hartselle defeats Hazel Green 22-12 in jamboree
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey got a chance to see several young Tigers in game action Aug. 24 as Hartselle defeated Hazel Green 22-12 in its preseason jamboree at J.P. Cain Stadium.
Last season, the Tigers were a run-first team, rushing for 2,378 yards and passing for just 756. But against Hazel Green, Hartselle showed signs of offensive balance.
Senior quarterback Wes Chenault, who played only in the first half, completed 8-of-12 passes for 112 yards. Senior wide receiver Tyler Young had the bulk of those yards, with five first-half receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Even kicker Ray Canafax got into the aerial action, completing a pass on a fourth-down punt fake that went for 17 yards to Trey Stephenson and eventually led to Hartselle’s first field goal.
The Tigers were also successful with the ground game, with sophomore running backs Marquez Jones and Josh Slaten sharing the load in the first half. Jones ran for 26 yards on five carries, including a 9-yard touchdown run, and Slaten had 20 yards on seven carries.
In the second half, sophomore Nikko Stover showed the Tigers have plenty of depth in the rushing game, carrying the ball 14 times for 100 yards.
The defense played well, allowing just six points to Hazel Green’s offense. The Trojans’ other score came on special teams with eight seconds left in the first half, when Hazel Green returned a Canafax punt 60 yards for a touchdown that made the score 22-12. Matt Zartuche sacked Hazel Green’s quarterback on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt.
The Tigers opened the scoring with a 35-yard Canafax field goal and a 34-yard field goal in the first quarter. Following Canafax’s second field goal, Hartselle’s Caleb Blanton tackled the Hazel Green kickoff returner for a safety.
Chenault completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Young with 4.7 seconds left in the first quarter as Hartselle increased its lead to 15-0. After Hazel Green scored on its next possession — the extra point was blocked — Hartselle responded with a scoring drive of its own that culminated in a Jones 9-yard touchdown run.
At halftime, Hartselle’s band performed for the fans at J.P. Cain Stadium, followed by the first-ever performance of the Hartselle High School dance team.
The Tigers open their regular season tonight at 7 p.m. against Austin at Decatur’s Ogle Stadium.