By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
COLD SPRINGS —
Quarterback Deacon Medders had 283 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, as well as an interception at his own 11 with 7.3 seconds remaining, helping Hale County escape Cold Springs with a 19-12 win Friday night.
The single-score decision marked the first loss for the Eagles (2-1, 1-1 in Class 2A, Region 4) and first win for the Wildcats (1-2, 1-1).
Medders finished 6 of 13 through the air with 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns — an 18-yarder to Aaron Sheffield with less than a minute left in the first half and a 40-yarder to Blake Williams late in the third quarter.
The shifty signal-caller also racked up 164 rushing yards on 21 carries, oftentimes slipping through tackles on option reads for big chunks on third-and-long conversions. On fourth-and-2 midway through the first quarter, Medders sprinted 38 yards untouched for what turned out to be the go-ahead score.
“We got out of position two times in the first half. Had them in fourth-and-4, had them in third-and-9,” Blue and Gold coach Rod Elliott said. “We worked all week on taking the quarterback on the dive option. We got out of position, they made two plays on us. That’s the reason they scored.”
Cold Springs scored on its first drives of each half but had trouble keeping the chains moving on most of its other possessions. The Eagles finished with 169 yards of total offense — 86 in the first two quarters and 83 in the second.
Caleb Ellison concluded the night with just 38 rushing yards but accounted for both of Cold Springs’ touchdowns.
The senior gave the Eagles a 6-0 advantage at only 3:15 into the game with a 3-yard score and later barreled 5 yards into the end zone on fourth-and-1 to pull Cold Springs within one early in the third quarter.
Ellison sparked his second score with a short kickoff to start the second half. It landed away from a group of Hale County players, allowing Logan Campbell to dive in and recover the ball at the Wildcats’ 35.
A sweet 22-yard connection from Campbell to Austin Moore helped put the Eagles in position for Ellison to score a few plays later.
Flags flew frequently throughout the ballgame, with the Wildcats racking up 100 yards on 13 penalties and Cold Springs compiling 43 yards on six. A couple of them killed the Eagles in crucial moments, though, particularly an unsportsmanlike conduct call following a long Hale County completion and a false start on fourth-and-inches that forced Cold Springs to punt early in the fourth quarter.
“Every time we got in position to do something, we’d jump offsides or something,” Elliott said. “We had too many penalties to win a football game tonight against a caliber team like that.”
A 21-yard field goal attempt that clanked off the right post gave the Eagles the ball at their own 20, as well as a fighting chance, with 1:48 remaining. Campbell gained 20 yards on the ground, Cold Springs moved to the Wildcat 45 on a personal foul call and Campbell completed a 14-yard pass to Christian Crandall on the right sideline before Medders sealed the final score with the late interception.
Campbell finished with 71 rushing yards, 54 passing yards and 76 yards on kickoff returns. Moore had two receptions for 34 yards, and Crandall had three for 20.
Eagle senior Devin Pace intercepted one of Medders’ attempts early in the fourth quarter, and junior Tyler Wideman sacked the quarterback in the first half.
Cold Springs will look to rebound next week on the road against Aliceville. Hale County will host Francis Marion.
“We go to Aliceville and try to win a game, that’s what we do,” Elliott said. “We correct the mistakes we made and we go to Aliceville and we try to win it.”
‰ Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.