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Hartselle Enquirer

Motivated Tigers dominate West Point

Hartselle’s Dax Gillespie puts a hard hit on a West Point running back in the Tigers’ 55-7 trouncing of the Warriors in Hartselle’s homecoming game Friday at J.P. Cain Stadium.
The team that ascended to the top of the Alabama Sports Writers Association rankings following a loss proved they deserved the top billing with a near-perfect effort against West Point.
Hartselle scored 16 points in the first six minutes Friday night at J.P. Cain Stadium on the way to a 55-7 rout of the Warriors.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in Class 5A, Region 6 play.
Playing without running back Malcolm Fossett and defensive back Terry Wiggins, the Tigers overwhelmed West Point on the way to the easy win.
“It’s good to get back on the winning side after losing last week,” said Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey. “It’s good to get back on track and this game was about trying to get better.
“Our guys came in beat up and they had a super attitude. They came in and worked. We had a good week of practice and this was a week that we very easily could have felt sorry for ourselves and slopped through it. We could have had a bad week with homecoming, but we didn’t do that.”
The Tigers moved to the No. 1 spot in Class 5A earlier in the week after nearly every ranked team suffered losses in non-region games. But the Tigers, who had not reached No. 1 in the state since the end of the 2008 regular season, picked up the pieces from a difficult loss to Decatur and came out on a mission against West Point.
“We’ve got a good senior class,” Godsey said. “Even though they’re not a vocal group, they came in to work. We’ve still got several goals and we want to achieve those goals.
“Last week, we played hard, but we didn’t get it done. A lot of the reason we didn’t get it done was because of the mistakes we made and we didn’t do that (against West Point).”
The Tigers didn’t have a turnover in the win.
Hartselle had just 288 yards of total offense, including 205 yards on the ground, but it was more than enough to beat West Point after the defense posted a pair of touchdowns and two safeties.
Isaiah Fowler scored two defensive touchdowns in the win – on a 45-yard interception and a 32-yard fumble recovery to spark the Tigers’ defense.
Hartselle also had a pair of safeties in in the win as the defense posted 16 points.
The Tigers scored on their first possession of the game when Will Lang connected with Jackson Reeves on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
Lang completed all five of his pass attempts in the game for 78 yards. He spent most of the second half on the bench watching the reserves take care of the Warriors.
Hartselle’s defense followed up with a sack by Will Durand and Tyler Phillips of the West Point quarterback in the end zone to add to the lead.
Reeves added his second touchdown of the night on an 11-yard run and just 5:17 into the game the Tigers held a commanding lead.
Jake Kimbrell recovered a fumble later in the quarter to set up a 41-yard field goal by Gavin Marsh, his third and longest field goal of the season.
Hayden Dye forced a Warrior fumble on West Point’s next possession and Blake Slayton recovered the loose ball.
Slayton then scored on a 14-yard run with 3:03 remaining in the quarter to push the Tigers’ lead to 26-0.
Hartselle added to the margin when Fowler picked off a West Point pass and returned it for a touchdown as the quarter ended.
Hartselle scored twice more in the second quarter to stretch the advantage to 46-0.
Slayton had a 9-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Fowler pulled a fumble out of a pack of defenders and returned it for his second touchdown of the game.
Deacon Aldridge scored the Tigers’ only touchdown of the second half on a 10-yard keeper.
West Point scored its lone touchdown of the night late in the game against Hartselle reserves.
Hartselle’s defense was credited with two more points in the fourth quarter when a West Point snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
“I was proud of our guys for the way they battled against Decatur but I was more proud this week was because of the attitude and work ethic (of the players),” Godsey said.

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