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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers blast Cullman in second round

Surrendering 27 points to Cullman three weeks earlier didn’t sit well with Hartselle players and coaches.
In the rematch between the two teams in the second round of the Class 5A football playoffs, Hartselle limited Cullman to one early touchdown pass on the way to a 27-6 victory.
The win was the seventh straight for the Tigers and set up a quarterfinals matchup with Russellville Friday at J.P. Cain Stadium.
“Our guys were not pleased with the way the first game with Cullman went defensively,” said Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey after the win over the Bearcats. “We got out of our game and that was a compliment to Cullman because they got us out of our game.
“We were very, very focused this week. “We played our defense and did what we were supposed to do. We focused tonight on everybody taking care of their business. That has been our creed around here for years, ever since I’ve been here. If everybody does their job, we’re going to be okay.”
Hartselle limited Cullman to just 229 yards of total offense, with most of that coming on an early touchdown on a broken coverage.
“We made plays and last time we played Cullman we didn’t do that,” Godsey said. “Tonight, we pl;ayed the defense and it showed. When we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be successful.”
The Tigers improved to 11-1 overall with the win to reach the quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last five years.
Malcolm Fossett scored three touchdowns, including one on a snap from center, to push his playoff touchdown total to six. He has scored 23 touchdowns this season.
“Malcolm did a great job. A lot of that credit goes to those guys up front, though. We still need to get better at being able to run the football late in the game to finish.”
Hartselle finished with 369 yards of total offense, including 236 through the air.
Fossett finished with 138 yards on 24 carries.
Cullman appeared ready early to pick up where it left off in the regular season meeting when the Bearcats rallied from a 16-point deficit to put a late scare into the Tigers.
Cullman drove inside the Hartselle 20-yard line on its first possession of the game before Terry Wiggins picked off a Bearcats pass at the 18 to end the threat.
In the second quarter, Hayden Dye pinned Cullman deep in its own territory with a punt that was downed at the 5-yard line.
But Cullman’s Dylan Skipper threw an 85-yard touchdown pass to Ben Moore on the Bearcats’ possession to take a 6-0 early lead.
Moore who rushed for more than 200 yards in the first meeting with Hartselle was limited to just 52 yards on 19 carries. The senior carried the ball just five times in the second half.
“(Moore) is a good player, but our guys just never quit,” said Hartselle defensive coordinator Larry Peck. “They made plays when they had to make them.
“We made some adjustments and stuff. He still had some yardage, but we knew he was going to get that coming into the game.”
Hartselle answered with a touchdown of its own when Fossett scored on a 12-yard run for a 7-6 lead with 7:26 remaining in the first half.
Fossett broke open for a 20-yard run earlier in the drive to put the Tigers into scoring position.
Cullman threatened late in the first half but Austin Borden came up with a big defensive stop on a fourth-and-2 play.
The Tigers used the momentum to add one more score before the end of the quarter. Fossett, running out of the Wildcat formation, went five yards for the touchdown and a 13-6 halftime advantage.
Will Lang teamed up with Isaiah Fowler on a 25-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to make it 20-6.
Hartselle added another score late in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 27-6.

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