BREMEN – In what was a defensive battle between Tanner and Cold Springs, some big plays late in the fourth quarter were the key for Tanner, and the Eagles couldn't recover as they fell to the Rattlers, 28-14.
Cold Springs didn't waste any time getting on the scoreboard as they started in great field position at the 40-yard line. Calvin McNabb got 22 yards on his two carries in the series. After his second carry, Tanner got called for a personal foul, putting the Eagles at the 23-yard line. On the next play, Mason Harris hit Ayden Alexander on a 23-yard shovel pass to complete a three-play, 40-yard drive that only took 1:02 off the clock to put the Eagles on the board. But Tanner answered on its first series. On a fourth-and-4 from the 26, Owen Green completed a big 53-yard pass to Bubba Summers to help keep the drive alive for the Rattlers, which put them at the 21-yard line. After Brayden Williams sacked Green for a 5-yard loss, Green finished the drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Summers to give Tanner an 8-7 lead with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Both defenses stepped up on the next series. The Eagles looked to retake the lead on their next series as they once again started in great field position at the 39-yard line. Big runs by McNabb, Harris and Alexander put the Eagles at the 20-yard line, but on a third-and-3, a false start pushed them back, and then Harris lost 2yards on a reverse, putting Cold Springs at the 27. Adam Hill attempted a field goal, which fell short. After both defenses stepped up on the next series, Tanner got the ball in good field position at the 47-yard line. A big third-down pass from Green to Summers on a third-and-12 from the 45 was good enough for 37 yards and a first-and-goal from the 8-yard line. The Eagle defense stood tall for three downs, but on another fourth-down play, Green found Summers again, this time, on a 13-yard connection to give the Rattlers a 14-7 lead, which mirrored the score at the half.
Cold Springs got a three-and-out on defense to start the third quarter, and McNabb had a great series, getting 33 yards on five carries. Alexander had a big 12-yard run to get a first down, and Harris had a huge 22-yard run to put the Eagles at the 17-yard line, but the offense stalled after that, and wound up turning the ball over on downs. The Eagle defense forced Tanner to punt once again. McNabb and Harris, once again, helped lead the Eagle offense down the field after getting excellent field position at the 45-yard line. It started with a substitution penalty against Tanner. McNabb got the next 25 yards after that, and Harris added a 12-yard run to put Cold Springs at the 3. McNabb finished the drive with a 1-yard run to tie the game at 14 with 11:15 remaining, giving the Eagles the momentum.
But, 15 seconds later, Green helped shift the momentum back to his team as he returned the kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown to give Tanner a 21-14 lead. The Eagles looked to come right back. A Francisco Ayala 21-yard reception on a big third-down play put Cold Springs at the 24, but the first turnover of the game cost the Eagles dearly as a fumble recovered by Zakobe Shoulders for Tanner put them at the 31-yard line. And it took just four plays for the Rattlers to score as Jaleel Thatch broke some Eagle tackles and ran down the left sideline for a big, momentum-changing, 63-yard score to increase the lead to 28-14 with 5:50 remaining in the game. An interception by Brodi Williams on the next series sealed the Eagles' fate.
Final score: Tanner 28, Cold Springs 14
Green finished 5-of-11 for 131 yards, two scores and an interception, plus the big kick-off return for a touchdown. Thatch had 102 yards on just nine carries and a touchdown. Summers had a big game as he finished with 129 yards on just four receptions and a pair of touchdowns. The Rattlers improve to 3-5 on the season and 2-3 in the region. They look to keep their play-off hopes alive as they head home to take on Falkville next Friday.
McNabb had 115 yards on 22 carries and a score for Cold Springs. Harris had 41 yards on the ground, two passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. The Eagle defense had a great performance as well, sacking Green five times. They fall to 1-7 on the season and 0-5 in regional play, as they look to get that first region win at home against Cleveland next Friday.
"We played good enough to win, but we weren't consistent enough," Cold Springs coach Rod Elliott said. "We gave up the kick-off return after we tied it up, and the fumble really hurt us. We didn't tackle well on the touchdown run. But my kids played very hard. I'm proud to be the coach of this team, and of these kids."
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