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Hartselle Enquirer

Muscle Shoals game one for the ages

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

When last Friday came around, you could almost sense the anxiety in the town of Hartselle as they prepared for the team that had haunted their hometown team for the past eight years to roll in that night. Hartselle hadn’t defeated Muscle Shoals since 2008, and even though they didn’t play in 2010 or 2011, the Trojans had still reeled off six straight against the Tigers.

As the sun went down and fans packed both sides of J.P. Cain Stadium, the atmosphere just had a heavyweight fight type feel to it. This game had just about everything a football fan could want, explosive offensive plays were followed by huge defensive stops and what was a tough defensive game in the first half turned into an offensive shootout in the second. The fourth quarter in particular gave the fans an emotional roller coaster ride. The Tigers took the lead only to have the Trojans return the ensuing kickoff. Hartselle then marched down the field and retook the lead only to see Muscle Shoals be given a short field with a chance to win the game. Hartselle forced a field goal to tie and fans would see an instant classic go into not one but two overtimes.

The game finished in dramatic fashion as Trevor Oakes found Garrett Wade for a walk off touchdown. Wade was then mauled by his team in celebration. No, the Tigers didn’t win any titles and while they do hold first in the region the season is far from over. However, on this night the Tiger’s win was all that mattered. On the other side, the agony of a defeat that the current Muscle Shoals players had never felt was written on their faces all too well.

What I realized during this game is what high school football can do for a community. On that Friday night, the town of Hartselle put aside their differences and piled into to J.P Cain Stadium to cheer on their team and the same goes for Muscle Shoals. For just a few hours, life seemed to somewhat stop and everybody forgot about the stress of their lives and enjoyed an all time classic. When the game was over neither side could be too disappointed because being able to watch the players on the field give all they had was something special.

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