By Rick Lanier
Last week the Beauregard Hornets scrapped and fought to put themselves in a position to win the game on their last drive. But in the end their hopes fell short as an incomplete pass fell harmlessly to the ground.
After another good week of practice, the Hornets hit the road as they traveled to Holtville to take on an undefeated Bulldog team. Like the previous week, Beauregard would find themselves in a dogfight until the bitter end. This time there was no denying the Hornets as they came from behind in dramatic fashion to spoil Holtville’s homecoming festivities by beating the Bulldogs 12-9.
The first half seemed like a heavyweight sparring session where each side was trying to figure out what the other was doing. Beauregard’s defense adjusted well to the Bulldogs’ fast-paced, no-huddle offense, while the Bulldog defense held the Hornets’ counter-run game pretty much in check. Each team committed turnovers and untimely penalties, and the half ended scoreless.
The third quarter started with a bang, literally. A severe weather system, complete with lightning, rolled in during the Hornets’ first series of the second half, forcing both teams back to the safety of their locker rooms for what proved to be a little more than an hour delay.
The Hornets faced a fourth down punt deep in their own territory as play resumed. The snap got away from Cason Santa Anna’s grasp, with the wet conditions affecting play, and rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety giving Holtville a 2-0 lead. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs returned the ensuing free kick to the Hornet 21-yard line and looked poised to extend their lead. However, the Hornet defense was having none of it. After holding the Bulldogs to only 4 yards, defensive lineman Ethan Smith stuffed a run play on fourth and six and the Hornet offense took over at their own 17-yard line.
Holtville was finally able to sustain a drive culminating in a one-yard touchdown run to make the score 9-0 in the fourth quarter. However, with 10 minutes remaining in the game, lightning struck again when the Hornet’s freshman quarterback Trent Molten connected with wide receiver Kam Robinson on a 70-yard touchdown pass to put Beauregard on the board for the first time in the game. The two-point conversion failed, keeping the score at 9-6, but Beauregard had managed to flip the momentum in their favor.
Back and forth, both teams traded possessions until the defense turned the game for the Hornets. The Bulldogs drove deep into Hornet territory, with three minutes remaining in the game, and the Beauregard defense desperately needed a stop on fourth and goal if there were to be any last-minute Hornet comeback. Sensing pass, the Hornets defense, led by Smith, linebacker Trent Jones and the rest of the swarm, put pressure on the Bulldog QB, forcing him to throw into coverage being provided by corner Kayon Malloy, who broke up the pass and put the ball back into the hands of his offense.
They had 79 yards to go, 2:28 to play in the game, when QB Gavin Prickett hit WR Keyshon Tolefree for 11 yards and a quick first down. On the next play, Prickett rolled left and hit Tolefree again for 3 more yards; the Hornets were moving. With two minutes, twelve seconds to play, on second down, Prickett dropped back and took a shot downfield, but the pass fell incomplete, setting up a third and seven situation with two minutes to go. Prickett rolled out and fired a laser to WR KJ Malloy on a quick hitter – he outran everybody to the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:48 remaining in the game.
Holtville would have one more opportunity after returning the kickoff deep into Beauregard territory, but it was not to be. On cue, the Hornet defense bowed their necks, stopping the Bulldogs in their tracks to complete Beauregard’s first on-field victory of the season.
A jubilant head coach Rob Carter exclaimed in his post-game interview, “We knew they were on a roll, they were 3-0, and we shut them down. Our kids kept fighting, they never gave up, they played hard to the end and I’m so happy and proud for them.”
The Hornets look to carry that momentum back with them to Richard Brown Stadium as they host Central of Clay County on Friday, Sept. 18. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST. Beauregard High School is located at 7343 Alabama Highway 51, Opelika, Alabama 36804.