By Rick Lanier
For the Opelika
On a pleasantly cool night, a near-capacity crowd filled Richard Brown Field to watch their Hornets lock horns with the visiting Valley Rams in a 3A Region 2 opening matchup that also had a “must-win” vibe about it. Beauregard played themselves into plenty of scoring opportunities, but their lack of execution and missed opportunities in the red zone, coupled with the Rams ability to control the clock for most of the game, wrecked the hopes of the Hornet faithful in a 27-0 loss.
To be clear, the Hornets were stirred up and ready to play for their first win of the season, but these are young and inexperienced Hornets struggling to find their rhythm. A big run, an untimely penalty. A long completion, illegal motion. A missed tackle, a resulting 80-yard touchdown run. One step forward and two steps back.
In the first half, quarterback Hunter Gasaway, running back Ashton Moss and wide receiver Keyshon Tolefree led the Hornets offense to the red zone on two separate occasions, combining for 227 passing and 68 rushing yards. However, a critical chop block penalty and a bad snap from the shotgun formation frustrated their efforts as the Hornets came away empty on both attempts.
As for the defensive effort, defensive lineman Eston Harris, linebacker Justin Smith and defensive end KJ Maloy swarmed to hold the Rams to only 4 yards passing in the first half. However, missed assignments up front and poor tackling on the backside gashed the Hornets for two TD runs of 80 and 43 yards respectively, putting Valley up 14-0 at the half.
The second half proved to be just as frustrating, on both sides of the ball. The biggest difference in the second half however was the Ram’s ability to control the clock and limit the Hornets to only four possessions. In the end, Valley’s run game simply wore down the Hornet defense, resulting in two more scores to put the game out of reach.
During his post-game interview, Coach Carter lamented, “I’m disappointed for our guys that fought their butts off, like they always do. I’m not taking anything away from Valley, they are a good football team, but we thought we had a great game plan. We thought we could move the ball on them and we did. We just have to find a way to get the ball in the end zone, clean some stuff up, but we get better each week.”
With the loss, Beauregard’s falls to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in regional play. The Hornets travel to Rehobeth on Sept, 13 to take on the Rebels (1-1) at 7 p.m. C.S.T.