PREP FOOTBALL: Ward’s big night leads Hanceville past West Point 27-14

Hanceville’s Brosnan Ward scores during the Bulldogs’ 27-14 win over West Point Friday night. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – West Point and Hanceville faced off against each other in another county rivalry battle at Ray Talley Stadium Friday night and a huge night on the ground by Brosnan Ward, along with a tough Bulldog, defense helped Hanceville defeat the Warriors 27-14.

West Point got the ball to start off the game and picked up a quick first down as Hunter Hensley found Parker Marks for nine yards on third-and-eight. Garrit Roberson helped the Warriors get another first down as that put them at the 36, but Hanceville’s defense stood tall as they stuffed Noah Laney on fourth down. On third down from the 19, Noah Jones found L.J. Smith for 11 yards and a first down. West Point looked to have forced a punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty kept the drive alive for the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, though, Hanceville were forced to punt later on in the drive. 

The Warriors got the ball to start the second quarter on the 28. Back-to-back penalties, though, pushed them back to the 20. Hensley quickly got them out of a huge hole as he again found Marks on a crossing route, and he took off down the left sideline for 77 yards and a first down at the 7-yard line. But the drive quickly came to an end as Smith picked off a Hensley pass and returned it to the 31. The Warriors, though, forced another Bulldog punt. A quick three-and-out gave the ball back to Hanceville and on the first play of the drive, Ward found a huge hole up the middle and wasn’t going to be denied as he ended up scoring on a 64-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 4:54 remaining in the first half.

After getting another first down, the Warriors were forced to punt yet again, but got the ball right back as J.D. Cochran recovered a Hanceville fumble. Hanceville stood tall on the final series of the first half and the Bulldogs would go into the half with a 7-0 lead. Hanceville got a huge kick return from J.D. Davis to start the second half as his 42-yard run put the Bulldogs in excellent field position at the 35. A 15-yard run by Zach Campbell put them at the 20, and later on, on fourth down from the 12, Ward found the end zone again as that made it 14-0. 

West Point kept the ball on the ground on their first series of the second half as Roberson, Laney, and Hensley helped them move the ball down the field. A Hensley to Cochran 14-yard pass play put the Warriors at the 16, and three plays later, Roberson scored on a four-yard run to make it a 14-7 contest with 5:29 remaining in the third quarter. The Bulldogs looked to answer on its next drive. Campbell picked up a huge first down on third down and later found Scott for a 15-yard reception, but a penalty on third down had Hanceville looking to get 23 yards on third down. Campbell made that happen as he scrambled and took off down the right sideline for a gain of 24 yards and a huge first down at the 14. 

Another Campbell first down later in the drive put Hanceville at the two-yard line and Ward found the end zone on the next play to push the Bulldog lead to 20-7 with 24 seconds left in the third quarter. West Point’s next drive got off to a horrendous start as a personal foul penalty to end the quarter put them at the 27, but a huge 23-yard run by Roberson gave the Warriors a first down and Hensley got them another first down later on in the drive. Another Roberson run put them at the 15-yard run, but David Fields sacked Hensley for a nine-yard loss and the Warriors ended up turning the ball over on downs.

A quick three-and-out gave the ball back to West Point and they struck gold on just the second play of the series as Hensley found Marks once again, this time for a 29-yard score, as that cut it to 20-13 with 4:28 remaining in the contest. But Ward broke the backs of West Point once again as he broke free down the left sideline for a 61-yard gain and found the end zone for the fourth time in the game as his 5-yard run gave the Bulldogs a 27-13 lead. The Warriors looked to get in the end zone quickly, but Hanceville had other plans as they forced West Point to turn the ball over on downs and the Bulldogs picked up a 27-13 win over the Warriors.

Ward finished with 206 rushing yards and four touchdowns for Hanceville (1-1). Campbell picked up 61 yards on the ground on eight carries. Fields and Eli Akins each picked up a sack in the game while Smith finished with an interception. For West Point (0-2), Roberson finished with 84 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. Laney added 45 on 15 carries. Hensley completed 7/13 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. Marks added four receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Cochran recovered a fumble for the Warriors. 

Hanceville will host Oneonta in its region opener next Friday night and West Point will travel to take on Vinemont.