The Raider defense showed out in Good Hope’s 23-7 win over Haleyville. (Preston Prewett for The Cullman Tribune)
GOOD HOPE – Looking to bounce back after their loss last week, the Good Hope Raiders hosted the Haleyville Lions in a big Class 4A, Region 5 matchup Friday night. The Raider defense and running game were too much for Haleyville as Good Hope improved to 6-1 on the year with the 23-7 win. Haleyville fell to 2-5 for the year.
The Haleyville offense started the game off throwing the ball and never swayed far from it the entire contest. Haleyville’s first possession saw completions of 12 and 11 yards, but a false start and a holding penalty forced the Lions to punt the ball away, allowing Good Hope to take over with great field position at the 47. Matt Dixon started the Raider offense off with a few carries, but Drew Maddox stole the show and brought the fans to their feet with a quick 36-yard scamper for a touchdown. The following 2-point conversion failed, giving Good Hope a 6-0 lead.
The Lions immediately went back to the air but found little success against the Raider defense and were forced to punt the ball away on their second possession. Good Hope started its signature ground and pound attack, marching 43 yards down the field before showing a little trickery with a fake reverse that allowed Preston Bagwell to hit Matt Schwaiger in stride for a long 36-yard gain. Dixon capped off the eight-play, 74-yard drive with a 4-yard bull run to put the Raiders on top 13-0.
Haleyville saw its next possession extend into the second quarter, putting together a long, 18-play, 73-yard, clock eating drive. The Lions’ offensive line started getting some penetration on the Raider front, allowing the Haleyville backs to gain some yards on the ground, but it was the passing game that took the Lions to the end zone and put them on the board 13-7.
A host of Raiders got some touches and yards on their final possession of the half, but a holding call and an incidental facemask put a stop to any momentum that had started. Bailey Quick executed a perfect punt on fourth down, sticking the Lions at their own 1-yard line to finish out the half. The Good Hope defense held Haleyville to only 85 total yards in the first half while the offense racked up 186 total yards with 130 of that coming on the ground.
Good Hope received the ball the start the second half but wasn't able to get much going as the drive ended with a Haleyville interception at the 42-yard line. The Lions took advantage and took to the air again, completing seven passes and driving 53 yards down the field. The Raider defense came up big time, holding on for a huge fourth-down stop at their own 1-yard line, allowing the Good Hope offense to take over on downs. Unfortunately, the offense saw fourth down come quickly, only managing 6 yards on its first three downs. Being pinned deep near their own end zone didn't faze Coach Alan Scott as he called a gambler's dream fake punt that was executed perfectly by Quick. Quick hit Isiah Green for a 40-yard gain on a call that really gave the Raiders a shot of adrenaline. They pounded the ball down the field on the back of a 34-yard Colton Bagwell gain. Good Hope topped off the 10-play, 77-yard drive with a 29-yard field goal, giving the Raiders a 16-7 lead.
Haleyville came out firing in the fourth quarter, trying to get its offense ignited, but the Good Hope defense was just too much as Preston Bagwell dove for a tipped ball and came up with a huge interception to stop the Lions at the 37. The Raiders quickly capitalized on the momentum by handing the ball off to Colton Bagwell, who went 63 yards down the field for the final Good Hope score of the game that put the Raiders on top, 23-7.
The Lions tried desperately to get something going on their next possession, but Preston Bagwell came up huge again as he made a quick jump on the Haleyville receiver and came up with his second interception of the night. The Good Hope offense ended up punting the ball away on fourth down and downed the ball inside the Haleyville 5-yard line. The Lions came out with a flurry of passes, but the Raider defense was too much for them as time expired.
Colton Bagwell ended the night with eight rushes for 138 yards and one touchdown. Dixon ended with 11 rushes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Quick ended with nine rushes for 48 yards and five completions for 82 yards and an interception.
Good Hope is now 6-1 on the year and 3-1 in Region 5 and will travel to Curry next week for another big regional matchup as the postseason starts to get closer.
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