PREP FOOTBALL: Bearcats blank Grissom 23-0 to open season

The ‘Cats celebrate after a Jaden Kay interception during their 23-0 win at Grissom. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Cullman kicked off the 2020 season on the road Thursday night and the ‘Cats arrived ready to play. After a scoreless opening quarter, the Bearcats began to move the ball more effectively on the ground and kept Grissom off the scoreboard to pull away and collect a 23-0 shutout win to start the season 1-0.

Cullman struck first early in the second quarter when quarterback Max Dueland hit Isaiah Jones at the goal line for a 28-yard touchdown pass and after a mishandle exchanged on the extra point, the ‘Cats went ahead 6-0. Cullman continued to smother the Tigers defensively as the half went on and after an interception by Jaden Kay, the Bearcats pulled ahead 13-0 with just over three minutes to play in the second when Jake Dueland ran over a man at the pylon to score from 13 yards out. Grissom marched down close to the end zone in the final minute of the first half but Griffin Barksdale burst through the line to pick up a sack on fourth down, turning the ball over and sending the game to halftime with Cullman on top 13-0.

The ‘Cats added to their lead later in the third quarter when Max Dueland snuck one into the end zone from a yard out to make it 20-0 and they held that lead going into the final frame. Barksdale forced another turnover on downs with another sack early in the fourth quarter and Brody Adams knocked one through the uprights from 31 yards out to stretch the lead to 23-0 and put the game out of reach for the Tigers.

Jaylen Hughey led Cullman in rushing with 57 yards on nine carries followed closely by Noah Kee who added 53 yards on 17 carries. Jake Dueland carried the ball six times for 23 yards and a touchdown and Jamar Kay finished with 40 yards on four carries. Max Dueland was three of six through the air with 59 yards and a touchdown and added another score on the ground.

After the game, Bearcats Head Coach Oscar Glasscock was pleased with his team’s defensive performance and wanted to play to their strengths tonight.

“You know because of the early shut down and not being able to have competitions and have a jamboree, I felt like the defenses were going to be ahead of the offenses in general,” Glasscock said. “We’ve got a lot of veteran guys and we’ve been playing well in practice so normally we like to take the ball and establish the line of scrimmage, but we wanted to play towards our defense tonight for sure.”

Even after an impressive win to open the season, Glasscock still saw plenty for his team to improve on before the next game but most of all, he was happy to see his kids playing hard and having fun again.

“It’s true when they say you make the most improvement between your first game and your second game, there’s no question about it and there are plenty of things to clean up. We’ve had half of our offensive line out due to quarantine situations and I was proud of the way those guys were able to come back after missing a lot of work and really playing pretty well,” Glasscock said. “We’ve got things to work on, but it was a great night. We got to play the game of football, the kids were excited, they had fun and man, it feels a little normal now finally.”

The Bearcats will return to Oliver Woodard Stadium for their home-opener against Jasper next week.

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