— posted by Michael Cummings
Hartselle 23, Athens 0
Quick-hit recap: Hartselle made a smooth transition to a new starting backfield with 268 rushing yards in a dominant shutout win at Athens. A year after all-state quarterback Will Lang and all-state running back Malcolm Fossett led the Tigers to the Class 5A semifinals, new starting quarterback Deacon Aldridge and new starting running back Blake Slayton both rushed for more than 100 yards to keep up the winning. The defense pitched a nearly perfect game, limiting Athens and its own new-look backfield to 27 rushing yards.
Statistical quick hits: Aldridge rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. He used his athletic ability to extend plays and make defenders miss on quarterback options. He scored Hartselle’s first touchdown on a 37-yard run on fourth-and-10 late in the first half.
Slayton rushed 11 times for 113 yards. His longest carry went for 47 yards late in the second half as Hartselle’s experienced offensive line wore down Athens.
Quotable: “It’s like coach (Bob Godsey) said at halftime. ‘That was a pretty good first half, but it’s got to be better. You’ve got to get better every play.’ And we did. We got better every play.”
— Hartselle senior center Will Swann. The Tigers led 10-0 at halftime.