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Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle routs Athens for sixth win

By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle certainly got the attention of Athens Friday night at J.P. Cain Stadium.
The Tigers made a strong case for a No. 1 ranking with a 35-0 victory over the Golden Eagles to improve to 6-0 on the season - the first time Hartselle has won its first six games of the season since 2001.
Hartselle, who came into the game with Athens ranked third in Class 5A, currently holds a one-game lead over Russellville in the Region 8 standings heading into the final three games of region play. All three remaining region games involve opponents with losing records.
The Tigers will host Butler Friday as part of Hartselle’s homecoming festivities.
Hartselle has scored on 11 of its 14 possessions in the last two games, including twice in its first three possessions against the Golden Eagles, a team that is young but talented. Defensive end William Ming has already committed to play for the University of Alabama next fall.
Marquez Jones put Hartselle on top against Athens early with an 8-yard touchdown run, a play that capped a 15-play drive.
Hartselle converted four third-down situations and kept the drive alive on fourth-and-4 from the Athens 16 when Luke Bole hit Andrew Howard with an 8-yard pass. Two plays later, Jones posted his first touchdown of the night.
Hartselle added to the lead in the second quarter when Jones broke through the middle for a 17-yard touchdown run with 3:56 remaining in the half.
The Tigers added to the margin with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Luke Bole to Andrew Howard on the Tigers’ first possession of the second half.
Howard finished the night with six receptions for 91 yards against Athens. He has 32 catches this season for 440 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers’ primary receiver.
Jones added a 7-yard touchdown run and Malcolm Fossett had a 1-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.
Jones’ three touchdowns give him 14 for the season.
The Tigers’ senior had 126 yards rushing on 18 carries. He now has 864 yards on the ground this season with six straight 100-yard games.
Jones has taken advantage of an experienced offensive line that includes Chad Hampton, Jeremy Thomason, Russell Powell, Mike Hasse, Drew Butler and Cody Allen.
While the Hartselle offense was scoring on five of its eight possessions, the Tigers weren’t in a giving mood.
Hartselle’s defense recorded its third shutout of the season, limiting Athens to just 174 yards of total offense.
Hartselle has allowed just 54 points in six games this season. Cordova was the only team to score more than two touchdowns on the Tigers this year.