By Russell Moore
The Cullman Times
WEST POINT —
After narrow losses in consecutive weeks, defending-Class 5A state champion and ninth-ranked Hartselle made sure West Point wasn’t going to become the third villain in a row.
The Tigers exploded for 24 second-quarter points, and four different players accounted for touchdowns, as Hartselle breezed to a 45-0 victory to spoil the Warriors’ homecoming on Friday.
West Point (2-5, 1-4 5A, Region 8) was victimized by a supremely balanced Tiger attack. Hartselle finished with 225 rushing yards and passed for 205.
Even the Tigers’ quarterbacks mounted almost identical numbers. Starter Deacon Aldridge finished 10 of 13 for 105 yards and a touchdown, while backup Brett Blackwood was 5 of 6 for 100 yards and a score — all in the second quarter.
Hartselle’s defense was equally impressive. The Tigers pressured West Point quarterback Bryant Farley all evening, registering eight sacks and forcing two interceptions.
Hartselle’s second-quarter outburst put the game out of reach, scoring on all four possessions during the 12-minute span.
D’Andre Mack plunged in from 7 yards out less than three minutes into the quarter for a 14-0 advantage. Masio Stover added a 9-yard touchdown on Hartselle’s next possession, extending the lead to 21-0 with 6:56 remaining before halftime.
The Tigers’ biggest play of the night resulted in the next touchdown, as receiver Sidney Steele side stepped a couple of West Point defenders on the sideline and raced for a 58-yard scoring reception from Blackwood for a 28-0 lead.
Hartselle kicker Hunter Hammack capped the first-half scoring, connecting on a 31-yard field goal as time expired for a 31-0 cushion.
Hartselle (5-2, 4-1 Region 8) added two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Aldridge hit Steele on a 25-yard touchdown strike, and Mack added a 16-yard score.
For West Point, Farley passed for 40 yards. Wesley Smith had a pair of catches for 27 yards.
Delton Cooke forced and recovered a first-quarter fumble for the Warriors, while Kristian Chappell recovered a fumble in the third.
For Hartselle, Steele finished with 123 yards receiving and two touchdowns on six receptions. Mack rushed nine times for 75 yards and two touchdowns, Blake Slayton had 47 rushing yards and a score, and Stover added 36 yards rushing with a pair of touchdowns.
West Point travels to top-ranked Muscle Shoals next week.