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Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle gets fifth straight win over Athens

Hartselle’s Jackson Reeves tries to break free from a couple of Athens defenders on a kick return Friday night at J.P. Cain Stadium. The Tigers beat Athens for the fifth straight time to open the season 1-0.
Malcom Fossett proved he was one of the state’s top running backs last season after rushing for more than 1,000 yards.
The senior might be even better this year.
Fossett ran for three first-half touchdowns and scored on a 16-yard reception in the second half to spark Hartselle’s 38-13 thrashing of Athens in the season opener for both teams at J.P. Cain Stadium Friday night.
The win was Hartselle’s 23rd in its last 27 games. The Tigers have beaten Athens five straight times dating back to the 2007 season.
“I liked the way our guys prepared this week,” said Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey. “I want to see us build on this. We need to improve on it.”
Hartselle forced four Athens turnovers in the win. The Tigers’ Jordon Orr intercepted a pass and Alec Durand, Charlston Wlliams and Tyler Phillips all recovered fumbles. Phillips also caused a fumble.
All three fumble recoveries led to Hartselle touchdowns.
“We executed very well,” said defensive back Jackson Reeves. “Turnovers are the key to the game. We work to get five turnovers in practice and if we don’t we run. We were able to get some big turnovers tonight.”
The Tigers kept Athens’ offense in check for most of the night before allowing two touchdowns in the final 14:38 of play.
“We made some breaks early in the first half and we were able to turn those into points,” said Hartselle defensive coordinator Larry Peck. “We just have to keep getting better each week.”
Fossett scored on runs of 17, 39 and 5 yards in the opening half as Harselle took a 21-0 lead at the half.
He added his fourth touchdown early in the second half when he took a Will Lang pass 15 yards in for the score and the 28-0 advantage.
“(I’m) very proud of him. worked very hard in the off-season to take it up a notch. It’s been fun to watch him mature the last couple of years.”
Fossett finished the night on the bench as the Tigers used a lot of younger players in the second half. He had 12 carries for 117 yards in the win.
“Our line did a great job, a great job,” Fossett said. “I was just doing what I was taught and what we worked on all week. The holes were there. All I had to do was run through the holes.”
Lang scored in the second half on a quarterback keeper before Athens finally got on the scoreboard with a 1-yard Stephen Rivers dive late in the third quarter.
Rivers, an LSU commitment who has never beaten Hartselle, was limited to just 86 yards through the air with eight completions on 12 attempts.
I thought out execution was pretty good – we only had the one turnover late with a young guy,” Godsey said. “I thought it was a really clean game on both sides. It was a good starting point. It was a very positive night.”
Gavin Marsh capped the scoring with a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Marsh finished the night with seven points after hitting all five of his extra point attempts.
Hartselle finished with 199 yards rushing in the win, with 302 yards of total offense.
Hartselle will play on the road for the first time this week when the Tigers travel to Brewer to renew a rivalry that has been dormant for the past two seasons.
Hartselle holds a 26-1 record in the series with Brewer that began in 1981.

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