By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
WEST POINT —
Carlos Chacon was not going to be denied the end zone, and Hanceville was not going to be denied a win against West Point.
After a close first half, the Bulldogs blew open the ballgame in the second, using an explosive ground game and three forced turnovers to wallop the Warriors 45-22 on Friday night.
Chacon finished with 11 carries for 88 yards and four touchdowns. His most exciting was his last, a 34-yarder where the senior slipped a few tackles at the line and appeared to be wrapped up at the 20 before breaking free and sprinting to the goal line.
“I’m getting it. I’m getting it. This is mine,” Chacon said of his mindset on his jaw-dropping score. “I saw my big guys blocking up front, and I knew I was going to get in.”
The bruising back also had touchdown runs of 1, 7 and 10 yards, as well as a fumble recovery. After the game, Chacon dedicated his special performance to Nicholas Fillinger, a Cullman High junior and promising runner who unexpectedly passed away Thursday night.
“I did it for my boy Nicholas,” said Chacon, who then kissed his hand and pointed to the sky. “He was a good friend of mine, and it’s to him right now.”
Chacon was far from Hanceville’s only running back to contribute to the victory with his legs. Torrey Green had 11 carries for 168 yards, and Brontae Harris was a work horse with 20 carries for 139 yards.
Harris (2 yards), Green (63) and Caleb Hurst (7) accounted for the Dawgs’ three other rushing touchdowns, giving them a grand total of seven on the night.
“We had some backs make some great runs tonight,” Hanceville coach Danny Miller said. “I’m so proud of those guys.”
Dant’e Reese and Harris both had an interception apiece, while Green had a sack and a forced fumble that Chacon was able to pick up. The Bulldogs turned all three turnovers into touchdowns.
Hanceville clung to a 24-22 lead at halftime before holding West Point scoreless in the second half. The Bulldogs’ third straight win in the county series puts them at 4-1 (2-1 in Class 3A, Region 7) heading into the second half of the season.
“Being from West Point myself, that’s pretty special right there,” Miller said. “We knew that West Point was going to get after it. People say, ‘They’re struggling, they’re struggling,’ but I always tell them they’re struggling in 5A. They’re not playing 3A football. I knew they were going to come out and get after our butt because they always do, but I’m so proud of the way our guys played.”
Added Chacon: “They’re one of our biggest rivals. I always wanted to beat them, my senior year especially, and we did it as a team.”
The final outcome spoiled a solid night by West Point quarterback Bryant Farley and wide receiver Tristan Dubberly.
Farley finished 17 of 34 through the air with 255 yards and a touchdown to go with 26 carries for 68 yards and another two scores.
Dubberly, meanwhile, had five catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone. The Bulldog D limited the speedy senior’s contribution’s in the third and fourth quarters, though, holding Dubberly to just one more reception for a 1-yard loss.
Farley’s two rushing scores were from 13 and 7 yards out. His one scoring strike was a pretty 21-yard pass on fourth-and-long over the middle to Dubberly.
Warrior tight end Ryder Jones caught four passes for 63 yards; Will Wrenn, three for 59; and Lance Ray, two for 27.
Immediately following a first-half sack by Austin Young, Levi Laney snatched the ball straight out of Harris’ hands to set up West Point’s third and final touchdown.
The Warriors were plagued by untimely penalties in the second half. A pass interference call erased a Hanceville turnover on downs deep in West Point territory, and a called illegal forward pass brought back a 76-yard score on a hook and ladder involving Farley, Jones and Dubberly that fooled the Bulldog defense.
“I’m not going to put it on penalties,” first-year Warrior coach Don Farley said. “They whipped us up front, and that’s where football is won or lost — the line of scrimmage.”
West Point (1-4, 0-3 in 5A, Region 8) will host Lawrence County for homecoming next Friday, while Hanceville will head home for a region showdown with Winfield.
Both coaches extended the thoughts and prayers of their programs to the Cullman High community and Fillinger family.
“I know that family is hurting right now,” Miller said. “There’s nothing you can say or do to make them feel better right now. All we can do is pray for them and let them know we’re thinking about them.”
‰ Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.