PREP FOOTBALL: Good Hope earns 5th straight playoff berth with 40-7 win over Fultondale

Good Hope's Tucker Malin finished with two receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns and added a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown as well in the Raiders' 40-7 win over Fultondale Friday night. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – After picking up a big win on the road last week against Ashville, the Good Hope Raiders looked to get another region win at home against Fultondale for homecoming. Good Hope got off to a quick start and they ended up dominating on both sides of the ball as they knocked off Fultondale 40-7 to clinch its fifth straight playoff berth.

The Raiders started out the game on defense and after giving up a first down, quickly forced the Wildcats to punt. Tucker Malin returned the punt 22 yards to the 48 and Good Hope found themselves in excellent field position for their first offensive series. On second down, Colten Whatley found K’mal Bell for 12 yards and a first down; a face mask penalty on Fultondale put the Raiders at the 19. Facing a fourth down and six from the 14, Whatley found Tyler Cone for 13 yards and that put Good Hope at the one-yard line. Jacob Haynes found the end zone on the next play to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 5:54 remaining in the opening period.

Good Hope’s offense quickly found themselves back on the field after Bell picked off a Wildcat pass at the 20. Two plays later, Whatley connected with Malin on a 20-yard screen pass as he ran into the end zone untouched to give Good Hope a 13-0 lead with 4:31 remaining in the first quarter. The Raiders got the ball back after a Fultondale punt and Whatley found Haynes for 22 yards, then he found Cone for seven more yards. Kaleb Jones picked up another first down running the ball, but they quickly went backwards and were forced to turn the ball over on downs.

The Raider defense came up big once again as Malin picked off a Fultondale pass and took it 44 yards to the house to make it a 20-0 game. On the ensuing kickoff, Hank Hudson recovered a Wildcat fumble and two plays later, Jones scored on an 11-yard run to increase the Good Hope lead to 27-0 with 9:30 remaining in the first half. The Raider offense got the ball back and added another score before the first half ended as Whatley found Malin in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown pass and that made it 33-0, which ended up being the score at the half.

Neither team found the end zone for most of the third quarter, then the Wildcats got on the scoreboard on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 4:25 left in the third quarter to make it a 33-7 game. Good Hope would put up their final touchdown of the contest in the fourth quarter as Whatley connected with Eli Clements for an eight-yard score and the Raiders ended up winning the game, 40-7.

Whatley had another strong night passing the ball as he went 14/21 for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Jones rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown and Haynes chipped in with a rushing touchdown as well. Malin finished with 42 yards on two receptions and two touchdowns and added the 44-yard interception return for a touchdown. Clements had the eight-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Bell finished with an interception for Good Hope (5-4, 3-2), while Hudson, Clements, and Zeb Smith each recovered a fumble.

Good Hope will finish up the regular season at home as they will take on Oneonta in a big region game.

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