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Though it is just Kobe Foster’s first year playing high school football, the Huntland junior put opposing defensive coordinators on notice in week 0, hauling in three catches for 169-yards and two touchdowns as Huntland defeated Cornersville 28-18.
Huntland’s offensive attack led the charge during the team’s season opening victory with 417 total yards on offense. Running backs Cameron Mahaffey, a senior, and D.J. Taylor, a sophomore, led the way on the ground, accounting for a combined 216 yards rushing.
The Hornet defense didn’t disappoint either, focusing in on key situations to make big stops. Huntland’s defense made some splash plays with two interceptions and five sacks, all of which were made by different players.
Sacks were accountable to Andrew Murray, Blain Maxwell, Cole Isbell, Dalton Plemons and Taylor. Interceptions were by Mahaffey and Foster.
Murray also led the team in tackles with 11 total. He gave the Bulldogs trouble all night long with constant pressure.
Receiving the opening kick off, Huntland went to work quickly on offense. D.J. Taylor provided a few nice runs up the middle of the field, drawing the defense nearer.
Mahaffey wasted little time scoring his first touchdown of his senior year, bolting around the corner for a 49-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the contest.
On the Cornersville Bulldog’s opening drive, the Hornet defense looked exceptionally strong early, forcing a third-and-19 ensuing a quarterback sack by senior Isbell.
However, a passing play for the first down gave the Bulldogs the needed momentum to drive the length of the field, scoring on a 21-yard run by tailback Chance Dyer. Cornersville’s extra point attempt was no good, leaving the Hornets with a small lead at 7-6.
Huntland’s next possession didn’t go as well as its first, resulting in a punt. Luckily, the Hornet defense stepped up with two sacks, facing a fourth-and-long and a punt.
With the ball at their own 20-yard line, the Hornets wasted little time putting more points on the board.
A rush advanced the ball to the 23-yard line, then Huntland turned to the air. Senior quarterback Evans Ray connected with Foster on a slant route, which Foster then broke three tackles and headed 77-yards to the end zone for a Hornet touchdown.
The score put Huntland out in front 14-6.
Offensively, the second quarter wasn’t as pretty to watch as each team’s defense took control.
Cornersville began with the ball to begin the second half and mounted a long drive. Huntland held the Bulldogs to a third and fourth down on the drive but was unable to get off the field.
Getting down to the Huntland 1-yard line, Cornersville’s Dyer broke into the end zone for the score. A failed two-point conversion try left the Hornets with a 14-12 lead.
Huntland was unable to get anything going offensively, fumbling the ball in the backfield for a turnover.
Beginning in great field position following the fumble recovery, Cornersville had Huntland backed into a corner. Yet, the Hornets responded in spectacular fashion, making a few big hits and ending the Bulldog drive at the 6-yard line, courtesy of an interception by Mahaffey.
With the ball now in hand, the Hornets again turned to the air. Following a run by Maxwell, Ray found Foster 35-yards down the field for a completion over two Bulldog defenders.
Foster followed up the impressive acrobatic reception with another, but this time for a touchdown. Ray found Foster again on the ensuing play for a 57-yard touchdown grab.
The second score through the air gave Huntland a 21-12 advantage on the scoreboard.
Refusing to lie down, Cornersville pushed ahead with another drive, getting the ball to the Huntland 25-yard line as the third quarter expired.
Shortly into the fourth and final quarter, Huntland forced Cornersville into a third-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Huntland was unable to stop a slant pass that accounted for a Bulldog touchdown. Another missed extra-point attempt kept Huntland’s lead at three-points, 21-18.
Beginning with the ball at its own 32-yard line, the Hornets embarked on a drive that would finalize the game’s outcome.
Mahaffey started off the drive with an 11-yard scamper for a first down. Hornet freshman Alex Simmons then got his chance on the field, running for an impressive 17-yard gain, carrying the ball into Bulldog territory.
With some runs by Tyler Smith, Maxwell and Taylor, the Hornets got the ball to the 1-yard line where Ray snuck into the end zone for a touchdown.
Senior kicker Austin Scott nailed his fourth extra-point field goal of the game to give the Hornets a 28-18 lead.
On the Bulldogs ensuing possession, Foster reappeared, this time on defense to seal the game’s fate. Cornersville advanced the ball to the Huntland 41-yard line through the air and attempted to attack the Hornet secondary again.
This time however, Foster came up from the safety position to make a leaping interception that he would return 39-yards.
Shortly thereafter, Huntland took a few kneel-downs to conclude the game.
The 28-18 victory was Huntland’s first opening season win since 2011, not including a forfeit in 2012.
With big aspirations in 2014, Huntland is off to a great start. The team’s next test will be played in front of the Hornet faithful fans against Columbia Academy this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.