PREP FOOTBALL: Vinemont edges Hanceville 31-30 in season-opener

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The Vinemont Eagles edged the Hanceville Bulldogs 31-30 Thursday night to start the season 1-0. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

VINEMONT, Ala. – The Vinemont Eagles hosted the Hanceville Bulldogs on the opening night of the 2020 AHSAA football season Thursday night and got the season started on the right foot. The Eagles edged the Bulldogs to come away victorious 31-30 in an entertaining, back and forth, tightly contested game.

Hanceville went three-and-out to start the game, and the Eagles offense took advantage by marching down the field and ending their drive with a 26-yard touchdown by Colby Miller to go up 6-0 midway through the first quarter. The Bulldogs fumbled on their first play of the ensuing possession and a fortunate bounce was picked up by Trevor Shadden. Sixty-five yards later, Hanceville had an 8-6 lead after the successful two-point conversion. With 3.2 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Bo Joles extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 15-6 when he punched it in from 1 yard out.

Vinemont answered right back on the next possession when Ayden Thomason scored from 1 yard out to cut the lead to 15-12 with 6:44 remaining in the half. After forcing a punt, the Eagles regained an 18-15 lead with 13 seconds until halftime thanks to a 32-yard pass from Colby Miller to Kix Johnson. The Eagles headed to the locker room with a 18-15 advantage.

Late in the third quarter, Vinemont stretched its lead to 24-15 when Isaac Moody scored from 26 yards out. Hanceville came right back as Joles found Logan Guthery for a 65-yard touchdown on the first play of the next Bulldog possession, cutting the lead to 24-22 with 4:39 left in the third.

Hanceville forced a turnover on downs after Vinemont had the ball first-and-goal and three plays later Zach Campbell raced 79 yards down the field, putting the Bulldogs ahead 30-24 with 7:43 remaining in the game. Vinemont came right back, and with 5:04 remaining, Miller scampered for 32 yards to score and regain the lead for the Eagles 31-30. After a big pass interference penalty that put the Bulldogs into Eagle territory, the Vinemont defense forced a fourth-and-long, and the last-ditch effort fell incomplete for the Bulldogs.

After picking up a first down, the Eagles kneeled the ball three times to run out the clock and secure a 31-30 home victory to start the season 1-0.

Vinemont will travel to Fairview to take on the Aggies next week and the Bulldogs will try to bounce back at home against Fultondale.

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Vinemont’s Colby Miller (1) races past a defender during the Eagles’ 31-30 win over Hanceville Thursday night. ( Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)