The Bearcats and Aggies line up before a snap Friday night in Albertville. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Sparks)
ALBERTVILLE – Fast and furious was the pace to start Friday night’s game, but Cullman’s defense proved to be too strong for the offense of Albertville as the ‘Cats came away with a 21-0 road win, with all touchdowns coming on the back and legs of Jayden Sullins.
Cullman’s Max Dueland, Noah Bussman and Sullins were the only three getting into the big play and scoring action early, putting the Bearcats up 7-0 over Albertville going into the half. Bussman made exceptional plays throughout the game, including a 40-yard pass reception to set up the first scoring drive of the contest and only drive of the first half.
Dueland, Sullins and Ezra Burks assaulted the Aggies via air or running game; however, the Bearcats only found the end zone once in the half. The tale of the tape was in the defense as both fronts held the lines, forcing multiple turnovers while the secondary knocked down passes to keep the game tight.
Bearcat Seth Gable was a beast of the defensive side as he tore through the offensive line of Albertville and wreaked havoc in the Aggies’ backfield. The quick play of Cullman’s defense had the Aggies scrambling all night and blanked going into the half with Cullman leading, 7-0.
Second-half action was on the shoulders of the defense for both sides as offensive stands resulted I n punts, fumbles or interceptions. When Albertville went to strike at the neck of the Cullman defense, Jimnie Chau Le took down the runner at Cullman’s 2-yard line, setting up a big defensive stand. The Bearcats’ defensive front held strong, forcing the Aggies to take a risk on fourth down, when Cullman’s Peyton Colvard nailed the runner in the backfield to give Cullman the ball back deep in Aggie territory.
Cullman’s offense stalled out on the next series and once again the Bearcats found themselves backed up on their goal line to try to stop a second consecutive red-zone drive by Albertville.
The Aggies were in scoring positon on Cullman’s 5-yard line, but Gable dropped the rusher for a loss of 1-yard. The next play was Dylon Wallace’s turn and he blew up the center to sack the quarterback for a 10-yard loss. Cullman’s special teams stepped in and put on enough pressure to force a missed field goal in third quarter to keep the lead at 7-0.
Wallace recovered a fumble to give the Bearcats new life at the Aggie 46-yard line to begin the last quarter.
Late in the game, Burks rushed for the first down to keep the clock running. On a long third down, Burks got to the 28-yard line to set up a short-range fourth down, forcing the ‘Cats to make decision to attempt a field goal or to go for end zone.
They went for it.
Dueland pitched to Wallace who cut around the corner to gain a first down at the Albertville 20-yard line. Moments later, Sullins burst up the middle for his second touchdown of the night to put Cullman ahead 14-0.
Albertville attempted to come back, but the ‘Cats defense would not allow that door to be opened.
With 6:07 left in the game the ‘Cats had complete control as Dueland lead the team back onto the field. Sullins got a first down on Albertville’s 45-yard line to keep the drive alive, and on the next play he ping-ponged off three defenders to gain another first down for the Bearcats.
Now at the Albertville 32, Dueland took a quarterback keeper for a few yards to set up the final scoring drive of the game. A screen pass to Sullins put Cullman within 7 yards. Sullins took the ball and cut back on the first-and-goal play to put the ‘Cats up 21-0 with a little more than two-minutes left in the game, icing it for the Bearcats.
Cullman, now 3-2, will travel to Hueytown next Friday.
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