The truth is the Hornets did not play well enough for the entire game to win. As has been the case this season, a lack of experience at key positions required the coaching staff to play several Hornets on both sides of the ball. As has also been the case, and especially by the end of each game, two-way players become fatigued, make mistakes and miss assignments. Unfortunately this past Friday night was no different.
Perhaps a little more troubling is the appearance of what seems to be a recurring pattern of untimely turnovers and penalties emerging. At the very least, the Hornet’s seem to be taking one step forward and two steps back, on both sides of the ball. It’s an issue Head Coach Rob Carter addressed post-game – “we shot ourselves in the foot tonight…” and “obviously the penalties got us tonight.”
In fairness, this is a young Hornet team who is getting better, show no signs of panic from either the players or coaches, and in each game, demonstrate flashes of what the Hornets are capable of.
Trailing 7-0 after fumbling away their first possession only 56 seconds into the game, QB Gavin Prickett connected with WR/DB Keyshon Tolefree for a 72-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7 on the Hornet’s second possession.
Then, out of a Wildcat formation, Tallassee found some early success on a 12-play drive deep into Beauregard territory. Just when it looked like the Tigers would score, the superb play from Hornet defenders RB/DE Trent Jones, WR/DB Keyshon Tolefree and OL/DL Eston Harris stymied the drive and forced the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs at the Hornet 5 yard line.
Both teams traded possessions into the second quarter, until the Tigers were able to add a field goal to re-take the lead 10-7. On Beauregard’s next series of downs, the Tigers intercepted QB Gavin Prickett’s pass and returned it to the Hornet 44 yard line. Back in the Wildcat formation, the Tigers scored again, but missed a 2-point conversion to increase their lead to 16-7.
After another Beauregard punt, Tallassee put together a 14-play drive, aided by a Hornet penalty, and scored but missed another two point conversion to make the score 22-7. Then, as quick as lightning, Beauregard’s WR/DB Tyler Gordon stung the Tigers as he took the kickoff and raced 75-yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 22-14 at halftime.
To open the second half in quick fashion, the Tigers returned the kickoff to the Beauregard 8-yard line. One play later and the Tigers had stretched their lead to 29-14.
After an unsuccessful on-sides kick attempt by the Tigers, Beauregard offense set up shop on their own 46-yard line, but were forced to punt after only three plays. Two plays and another Hornet penalty later, and Tallassee had scored again to make the score 36-14 with nine minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Tigers then attempted another on-sides kick, this time recovering it and forcing the tired Hornet defense back on the field where the Tigers scored again to run the score to 43-14.
To their credit, the Hornets continued to battle, as they always do. They managed to put together an impressive drive of their own, scoring on a QB draw to make it 43-20, but in the end, a tired Hornet defense just couldn’t stop the Tigers who scored two more times to make the final score 57-20.
The Hornets remain confident as they prepare for Homecoming 2020. “We still control our own destiny” said Head Coach Rob Carter, “our guys will be ready to play on Homecoming.”
With the win, Tallassee improves to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play, while Beauregard slipped to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Beauregard host the Sylacauga Aggies on Friday, 9 October, for Homecoming 2020. Beauregard High School is located at Alabama Highway 50, Opelika, AL 36804. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm CST.