Updated 11-8-19 at 10:24 p.m.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Friday night was a historic one for the Cullman Bearcats as they collected their first ever 6A playoff win and they did it by shutting out the Mae Jemison Jaguars on the road 20-0. First-year head coach Oscar Glasscock was proud of the focus, effort and game plan his team had against a playoff opponent and is especially proud of the seniors who have stuck it out through multiple transitions to accomplish this.
“I thought Mae Jemison played an excellent game; they’re a really well-coached team with a lot of class and I just saw a lot of similarities in these two teams. I’m super proud of the defense. We’ve been giving up some yards on defense and we just stick with the plan and do what we do and just kind of hung in there. Coach (Matt) Hopper had a great plan going in and we didn’t panic,” Glasscock said. “They moved the ball some and ran a little bit different scheme, but the offense came through when they had to. Jaylen (Hughey) was fighting through an ankle injury and scored that big touchdown to put it away so it was a team effort. That’s what I like about this bunch is it’s been a team effort all year. That’s the first 6A playoff win in Cullman history and that’s a really, really big deal. I’m so proud for these seniors because to have four head coaches in four years and stick with it and keep faith in the vision makes me really super proud of them.”
The Bearcats struck first on their opening possession when Hughey broke through multiple tackles to score from 39 yards out and make it a 7-0 game just three minutes into the first quarter. Cullman forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back and drove deep into Jemison territory, but a fumble at the 5-yard line gave the ball back to the Jaguars.
A punt put the ball back in the hands of the Bearcat offense and Jayden Sullins stretched the lead when he took a hand-off 71 yards to the house to make it 13-0 with just two minutes remaining in the first half. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave Cullman another chance to score, but the ‘Cats couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and went into the halftime break with a 13-0 advantage.
Both teams were scoreless in the third quarter thanks in part to an interception by Matt Brock that ended a Jaguars drive early, and Cullman maintained its 13-0 lead going into the final frame. After being forced to punt early in the fourth, the Bearcats got the ball back and began driving again when Hughey sprinted down the Cullman sideline for 27 yards and a touchdown to make it 20-0 early in the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach for Mae Jemison.
The Jaguars were threatening to get on the board late, but another timely interception by the Bearcats preserved the shutout and punched their ticket to round two of the state playoffs next week.
Sullins finished the game with 179 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while Hughey added another 129 and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Quarterback Max Dueland finished the night 4-of-6 for 27 yards and added another 39 yards on the ground.
The Bearcats will return home next week to take on Oxford in round two.
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