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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers hold off Pinson Valley comeback

Hartselle wide receiver Will Tiffin hauls in a pass from Will Lang during the first half of the Tigers’ 35-27 victory over Pinson Valley Friday at J.P. Cain Stadium. Tiffin had two receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Hartselle’s strong start Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs almost wasn’t enough to get past Pinson Valley.
Almost.
The top-ranked Tigers opened up a 28-0 lead over the Indians, who came into the game with just five wins, and held on for a 35-27 victory at J.P. Cain Stadium.
“The score really was not indicative of the game,” said Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey. “I really don’t know how to explain it other than we just didn’t finish the game out.
“We’ve got to play better. We know that. We didn’t finish like we wanted to. But I’ll take another one just like it next week.”
The win sets up a rematch with Cullman in the second round Friday in Hartselle. The Tigers beat Cullman 30-27 three weeks ago.
The Tigers’ Malcolm Fossett scored three of Hartselle’s first four touchdowns in the game that enabled Godsey to go to his bench early in the fourth quarter.
Fossett’s three scores pushed his season total to 20 touchdowns despite missing two full games and parts of two more.
The senior running back finished with 81 yards rushing on just 12 carries.
But Pinson Valley, who finished the season with a 5-6 mark, rallied with four touchdowns in the final 19 minutes of play against many of the Hartselle reserves.
Godsey went to his bench when the Tigers opened up the 35-7 advantage after Craig Orr’s 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
With starting defensive back Jackson Reeves sitting out the second half with a knee injury, Godsey played reserves and the Tigers were able to close out the win.
“We had so many guys banged up and we were trying to protect them a little bit,” Godsey said.
Pinson Valley’s Kaleb Harris threw four touchdown passes in the second half to get the Indians back in the game. He finished the night 24-for-40 passing for 281 yards.
“They were just throwing it up for grabs and we were there but the receivers were able to catch those passes,” Godsey said. “I don’t know of a deep ball that they threw that we didn’t have our hands on.”
Hartselle improved to 10-1 with its sixth straight win. It marked the third straight season that the Tigers have reached the 10-win mark.
Godsey has led the Tigers to 10 wins in four of his eight seasons in Hartselle. He also won 10 or more games three times while at Brooks.
Fossett gave the Tigers a 7-0 advantage in the first quarter when he broke through the Pinson Valley defense for a 48-yard touchdown run.
He added a 1-yard run in the second quarter to help push the lead to 14-0.
Isaiah Fowler intercepted Harris late in the second quarter to set up a Will Lang-to-Will Tiffin 46-yard scoring strike for the 21-0 lead.
Hartselle returned a short Pinson Valley punt to the 20-yard line in the third quarter and the Tigers took advantage of the short field with Fossett’s third touchdown on a pass from Lang.
Lang completed 17 of his 26 pass attempts for 235 yards. He threw a pair of touchdown passes and was intercepted once – his first since the fifth-week non-region loss to Decatur.
The senior has now thrown for 1,786 yards while completing 70 percent of his pass attempts.
Pinson Valley answered when Harris found Earnest Robinson on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Orr’s touchdown – his second of the season – pushed the lead back to four touchdowns with 1:35 remaining in the third quarrter.
“Some people might look at the score and think that our defense didn’t do a good job, but the defense played great,” Godsey said. “Pinson Valley didn’t have any points in the first half. We just couldn’t get any first downs when we got the ball.
“We did a lot of good things, they did a lot of trick plays and our defense was all over that.”
Harris teamed up with Robinson on a 65-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and added a 9-yard touchdown throw to Jaylyne Rhone to get the Indians to within two touchdowns of the Tigers.
Harris’ final touchdown pass in the game, to Robinson, came as time expired and trimmed the final margin to eight points.
“It was just one of those nights,” Godsey said. “It’s over, now let’s move on.”

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