BY RICK LANIER
FOR THE OBSERVER
There were moments of good and plenty of positives to take away from Friday night’s game, but Beauregard failed to play well enough on either side of the ball as the hometown Sylacauga Aggies (5-2 / 3-1) defeated the Hornets 42-14.
The loss, Beauregard’s fifth in a row, dropped the Hornets to 2-6 overall and fifth in Alabama’s 5A Region 4 standings at 1-4. As a side note, Sylacauga’s win was the first win against the Hornets for the new Aggies head coach — and former Beauregard coach (2014-20) — Rob Carter.
As far the game goes, unfortunately, it was more of the same for a Hornet offense that has struggled to find consistency all season. Penalties and turnovers nullified scoring plays and threw the Hornet’s offensive game plan off schedule. Even so, the Hornets managed to manufacture some chances and executed well on a couple of drives in the second and third quarter. Junior running back Qua Barnes took a screen pass deep into the the Aggie red-zone to set up a 2 yard QB keeper for touchdown by junior quarterback Trent Moulton in the second quarter, tying the score at 7-7. Sylacauga responded with two more scores before the half and the Hornets trailed 21-7 at the break.
In the third quarter, Beauregard came out strong as Moulton used his legs to engineer another scoring drive, finding pay dirt on a QB keeper from 5 yards out as time expired in the quarter. The rest of the game was a muddled affair, and the only score of the fourth quarter came via Sylacauga as the Aggies abolished the visiting Hornets.
Defensively, the Hornets struggled to contain the Aggie run game, in particular running back Maleek Pope, who gashed Beauregard left, right and up the middle for over 300 total yards on the night. As was the case with the offense, the defense made some good plays, but the Aggies big-play ability overpowered the Hornets and effectively put the game out of reach early.
A silver lining: Beauregard’s special teams continued its good play on the season, recovering two Aggie fumbled punts to set the Hornets up with great field position, and booming kicks compliments of senior kicker Zander Baird which resulted in the Aggie’s kick return team being held at bay all night.
“They’re a good football team, but we gave up way too many big plays,” said Beauregard head coach Justin Jones after the game. “We’re not there yet, but we are working our tails off to get there.”
The Hornets celebrate Homecoming 2021 this Friday, Oct. 15, as they hope to bounce back from the loss, taking on the Panthers of Elmore County (0-7 / 0-4) in a regional matchup beginning at 7 p.m. CST. Beauregard High School is located at 7343 Alabama Highway 51 in Opelika.