Steele, Hartselle leave Hillcrest in the dust
Fri. August 31, 2012 at 11:42 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Hillcrest’s Keith Holcombe dives but can’t bring down Hartselle’s Sidney Steele, who scored two touchdowns. (Photo by Kelly Lambert)
TUSCALOOSA | The Hartselle Tigers lost the football on the opening kickoff and their first play from scrimmage, but they managed to keep their poise.
Senior wingback Sidney Steele scored on a 9-yard run and a 75-yard kickoff return Friday as the Tigers defeated Hillcrest 42-14.
Hillcrest kicked off to start the game, and Jordan Robertson recovered the football on Hartselle’s 37. The Tigers held on downs, but the first offensive play resulted in a fumble that was recovered by DJ Johnson.
Hartselle senior Tyler Phillips came up with an interception that shifted the momentum. The Tigers overcame a third-and-18 situation as Deacon Aldridge threw to Blake Slayton for 25 yards. Three plays later, Steele scored the Tigers’ first touchdown of the season, and Hunter Hammack added the first of his six extra points.
After Hartselle forced a punt, Aldridge capped a touchdown drive with a 1-yard run.
“That’s not the way you script it, but the way we handled it makes you proud,” said coach Bob Godsey, who coached the Tigers to the AHSAA Class 5A championship last season. “Our defense answered when they had to, and then offensively we showed a lot of poise and got things rolling. Tyler’s interception was key.”
In the second quarter, Hartselle drove 70 yards for its third touchdown. The Tigers faced third-and-27 from their 22 but got a first down on a pass interference penalty against the Patriots. Slayton finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Brett Blackwood, who rotated in for Aldridge at quarterback for a series, threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Oakes as the Tigers ended the half with a 28-0 lead.
Slayton scored on a 10-yard run in the third quarter.
Hillcrest got its first touchdown after Mark Wallace recovered a fumble at the Hartselle 39. Quarterback Riley Nix threw to Austin Williams for 20 yards, and Williams caught an 18-yard touchdown pass on the next play with 9 seconds left in third quarter. When the Patriots kicked off, Steele scored on the 75-yard return.
Hillcrest got its final touchdown on a 3-yard run by Charles Bester with 4:02 left.
The loss spoiled the debut of Scott Martin as Hillcrest’s head coach.
“It was extremely disappointing,” Martin said. “We couldn’t have got two better breaks — the opening kickoff and then the very first play they had the ball after that. We missed a touchdown on the first play. We overthrew the guy a little bit. From that point on, we struggled a little bit. As the game wore on, I felt like they physically dominated us on both sides of the ball. They were very polished in what they did tonight.”
Hillcrest plays at Northridge next Friday in a Class 6A, Region 5 game.
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.