PREP FOOTBALL: Bearcats fall at No. 6 Hartselle 42-0

The Cullman Bearcats fell to Hartselle on the road 42-0 Friday night. (Jennifer Lovoy/The Cullman Tribune)

HARTSELLE, Ala. – The Cullman Bearcats drove north to Hartselle to take on the Tigers in their first 6A, Region 7 Friday night.  Hartselle got off to a slow start but ended up dominating the Bearcats to win the game 42-0.

The Cullman defense held the Tigers to a five-play drive and forced a punt.  Cullman’s offense looked to be getting on track as they drove the ball to midfield.  Hard running by Tanner Gaines and Larry Turner got the Bearcats on the Hartselle side of the field.  A sack by Hartselle ended the drive.

The first quarter ended with both teams punting the ball and no points scored.  After punting, Cullman had Hartselle pinned deep in their end of the field.  On the third play, Cullman sacked quarterback Landon Blackwood causing him to fumble, and Cullman recovered the ball on Hartselle’s 25-yard line.

On the second play of the drive, quarterback Gaines looked to be taking a sack for yardage loss. Just before hitting the ground, Gaines tossed a pass to Turner for a dazzling eight-yard gain. On fourth down, the Bearcats came up short and turned the ball over to the Tigers.

On Hartselle’s third drive, Cullman’s defense seemed to be holding the Tigers. Quarterback Blackwood threw a lateral to Lincoln Bryant. Bryant passed the ball downfield to a wide-open Noah Lee who completed the touchdown play of 56 yards. With 3:40 left in the second quarter, Hartselle took a 7-0 lead.

Another sack by Hartselle caused a Cullman punt that didn’t get much distance. Hartselle took over on the Cullman 32-yard line. On the first play, Azariah Fletcher ran 32 yards for a quick touchdown and Hartselle extended their lead to 14-0 with 2:32 left in the first half.

After another Cullman turnover, the Tigers finished off a seven-play drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Blackwood to Bryant. The first half ended with Hartselle leading the Bearcats 21-0.

Cullman looked to get their offense going in the second half.  On the third play of Cullman’s first drive, Hartselle intercepted Gaines for a pick-six and with 10:28 left in the third quarter Hartselle’s lead was 28-0.

On Hartselle’s second drive, Blackwood hit Nick Holland for a 51-yard touchdown pass and Hartselle’s lead was 35-0 with 1:46 left in the third quarter.

Cullman’s offensive woes continued in the fourth quarter.  Another turnover and sack halted the only two drives Cullman had. Hartselle completed an 11-play touchdown drive as Charles Ownby ran in from one-yard out and the final score was 42-0 in Hartselle’s favor.

Cullman finished the game with 185 total yards compared to 353 total yards for Hartselle.

Cullman makes a similar trip next week to take on the Decatur Red Raiders in another Region 7 game.