PREP FOOTBALL: Hanceville falls to Brewer in season opener 23-7

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The Hanceville Bulldogs fell to Brewer in their season opener 23-7 Friday night. (Katie Drummond/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Hanceville Bulldogs kicked off the 2023 season at Ray Talley Stadium against the Brewer Patriots Friday night and a couple of late touchdowns from the Patriots was the difference in the game and the Bulldogs dropped their season opener to Brewer 23-7.

A huge pass by Brewer on third down from the 30 quickly put them at the other side of the 30-yard line, but on the next play, Hanceville’s Keiton Whatley recovered a fumble at the 28. The trio of Whatley, J.T. Davis, and Marquies Leeth punished the Patriot defense on the ground as they quickly moved the ball to the 35, but an interception put a quick stop to their drive. The Bulldogs, though, got the ball right away as Jake Cornelius picked off a Brewer pass, but they would later turn the ball over on downs. After allowing a first down late in the drive, Hanceville’s defense stiffened after that as they forced a Patriot punt.

Hanceville’s next drive got off to a strong start as Hunter Black found Davis for nine yards and a first down, but a holding penalty quickly pushed them behind the sticks, and they later turned the ball over on downs. A 31-yard run by the Patriots quickly put them at the 31, then later on, a face mask penalty on the Bulldogs put the Patriots at the two-yard line. After a false start penalty, Brewer put up the first score of the game on an eight-yard run to give them a 7-0 lead with 6:29 left to go in the first half.

Hanceville quickly went three-and-out on their next series, but a Davis pick gave the Bulldogs the ball right back at the six. Leeth would find the end zone on the first play to tie the game up at seven with 3:10 remaining in the first half. Neither team was able to break the tie before the half, and the score remained tied at seven at the half.

The Bulldogs came out roaring to start out the second half as Noah Jones found Brady Cleek for 12 yards and a first down on third down from the 38. Jones completed passes to Davis for 10 yards and to Leeth for 13 more as they found themselves at the 21-yard line as they looked to break the tie, but after second down, they quickly went backwards and turned the ball over on downs. Each team traded punts on their next series, and Brewer got the ball back to start the final period. Their running game wore down Hanceville’s defense, and their drive ended with a nine-yard run as that gave them a 14-7 lead with 6:57 remaining in the game.

Another Hanceville punt gave the ball back to the Patriots and Brewer’s running game, plus a personal foul on the Bulldogs, helped them get to the 28-yard line. A huge run put Brewer at the two, and later scored on a 1-yard run to make it 21-7 with 1:32 left to go in the contest. The Patriots added a safety for the final points of the game, as Hanceville ended up falling in their season opener to Brewer, 23-7.

Leeth finished with 62 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown for Hanceville. Davis and Cornelius each finished with an interception, while Whatley recovered a fumble in the game for the Bulldogs.

Hanceville will be on the road next Friday night to take on West Point.

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