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Hartselle Enquirer

Priceville’s Storybook Season Ends 29-28

Priceville’s Aaron Cartee avoids a Hamilton defender during the first round of the state playoffs Thursday evening. Hamilton would defeat Priceville 29-28. | Special to the Enquirer
Priceville’s Aaron Cartee avoids a Hamilton defender during the first round of the state playoffs Thursday evening. Hamilton would defeat Priceville 29-28. | Special to the Enquirer

A large crowd witnessed a classic high school football game Thursday night. You couldn’t be too disappointed unless you are a Bulldog fan.  The game was in Priceville’s hands midway through the third quarter, up 20-7 over the Aggies’ from Hamilton.  Priceville’s first three scores came from Kaleb Barker throwing a 67-yard bomb to Parker Gwin, then Barker scored on a 2-yard run and the third was a 9-yard pass from Barker to Kyle Haynes.

There were opportunities lost that would have sealed the victory for Priceville, but with just over two minutes left in the game, the Aggies’ cashed in on the chance to win. Midway through the fourth quarter, Priceville scored, with what looked to be the game winner.  Barker, who was 22 of 27 for 311 yards, would hit Parker Gwin for the touchdown from 26-yards out.. An earlier missed extra point forced the Bulldogs to go for 2, which they converted with a completed pass to Kyle Haynes, making the score 28-21.  The Hamilton team was not to be denied as they put together plays to score and cut the lead to 28-27. The Aggies’ called a timeout after showing their field goal formation.  After the timeout, they showed the will to win by going for 2 and converting, scoring the points to take the lead, 29-28 with 2:02 on the clock.
In seven plays, Barker would lead his “band of brothers” down the field.

Priceville arrived on the three-yard line after a strike from Barker to Heath Mann, right down the middle of the field with 10 seconds left.  First down and goal, the final play is when the unthinkable happened.  A bad snap caused the ball to skid across the wet ground, Barker scooped up the ball and scrambled right in hopes of making the score. Coach Dirk Strunk said afterward, “Everyone will think I should have kicked the field goal”.  “We planned to have Kaleb roll out and if he didn’t see anything, throw it out of the back of the end zone”.
Aside from the snap, it went as planned until the ball slipped from Barker’s hand as he attempted to pass.  The officials ruled the play a fumble and recovery by Hamilton, despite the ball flying forward 5-yards. Despite the objections of the fans, the Priceville coaches and players thought it should have been an incomplete pass.  After a kneel down by the Aggies, the last two seconds of the story were written and Hamilton would advance to the second round.
Aaron Cartee would lead the team in rushing with 112 yards, Kaleb Barker carried 19 times for 56 yards and 1 touchdown.  Parker Gwin had 4 receptions for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Kyle Haynes would have 5 catches for 58 yards and 1 touchdown.

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