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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers beat Austin for 5th straight win

Hartselle’s Malcolm Fossett powers past an Austin defender Thursday in the Tigers’ 27-16 victory over the Black Bears in the regular season finale. Hartselle will host Pinson Valley Friday in the playoffs.

DECATUR – The top-ranked team in Class 5A wanted to finish strong.
Hartselle’s final 24 minutes of the regular season were more than enough to help the Tigers pull away from Austin for a 27-16 victory Thursday at Ogle Stadium, capping a week filled with distractions and challenges.
“I was very proud of our guys mainly for the toughness they showed,” said Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey. “We had a lot of distractions this week with bad weather one day and a 6 a.m. practice Wednesday so our players could go support the volleyball team in Pelham. There were a lot of things that could get your attention and keep you from doing what you need to do.”
Hartselle improved to 9-1 overall with the win heading into the first week of the playoffs. The Tigers will host Pinson Valley (5-5) at J.P. Cain Stadium Friday night in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Hartselle’s defense kept the Black Bears in check in the final two quarters, allowing just a 34-yard field goal by Austin’s Matt Pensa.
Austin had just 302 yards of total offense in the game. Three of the Black Bears’ four scoring drives ended with Pensa field goals.
Hartselle scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Will Lang to Will Tiffin in the third quarter to break the 13-13 tie.
Malcolm Fossett, who finished with 212 yards rushing on 28 carries, scored on a 4-yard run with 2:34 to put the final touches on the win.
Fossett went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the win despite missing two full games with a shoulder injury and playing sparingly in two others.
The senior now has 16 touchdowns – including 15 on runs.
Hartselle finished the night with just one turnover and finished with just two turnovers (both fumbles) in the final five weeks of the season.
“If you can run it a little bit, take care of the football and keep them from being able to run it, you’ve got a chance to win the football game.”
The Tigers took the early 6-0 lead against Austin with a 52-yard scoring run by Fossett just four minutes into the game.
Austin answered with a Pensa field goal with 17.9 seconds left in the quarter to trim the gap to 6-3.
A Hartselle fumble in the second quarter turned into Austin’s lone touchdown of the night. Alexander Garner threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chris Sparkman for the Black Bears’ first lead of the night at 10-6.
The lead was short-lived, however.
Chance Partlow took a pass from Lang and went 29 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Gavin Marsh’s extra point, his third of the game, put the Tigers in front 13-10.
Pensa closed out the half with a 32-yard field goal just before the end of the first half to tie the game at 13.
Lang finished 14-of-21 passing for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He completed passes to five different receivers – Tiffin, Fossett, Sidney Steele, Isaiah Fowler and Partlow.

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