The Huntland High School Hornets beat the Cornersville Bulldogs 24-14 on the road Friday for their fifth win of the season.
The Hornets claimed the lead early in the second quarter and took advantage of four total turnovers from the Bulldogs to hold onto it for the rest of the game as they won the regional contest.
Huntland head football coach Bob Robertson said both teams played well with his squad ultimately coming out slightly ahead.
“It was a hard-fought game. Both teams played hard and we did enough good things to come out on top,” Robertson said.
The Hornets started the game with the ball but were forced to punt it away after just three plays.
The Bulldogs then marched down the field on their first offensive drive and scored on a touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead with six minutes left in the opening period.
The Hornets would not trail for long, however, as Bryson Johnson fielded the ensuing kickoff at his own 8-yard line, slipped away from some defenders and sprinted 92 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 7-7.
After forcing a punt on the next Cornersville drive, the Hornets worked the ball down the field with a 10-play drive that ended in a touchdown run for Kolbi Stewart to give them a 14-7 lead with 9:26 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs got the ball into Huntland territory on their next drive, but an interception by Dalton Worley would give the ball right back to the Hornets.
The Hornets settled for a field goal on the ensuing offensive drive as Pedro Garcia nailed the 32-yard attempt to make it a 17-7 game with five minutes left in the half.
They led 17-7 at halftime.
The Bulldogs started the second half by bringing the ball into Huntland territory again, but a lost fumble would give the ball back to the Hornets. However, the Hornets would return the favor on their ensuing drive as they fumbled the ball back after getting inside of the red zone.
The Bulldogs elected to go for it on fourth down from the Huntland 21-yard line on their next drive, and the Hornets turned them away with Johnson making the tackle two yards away from the first-down marker.
The Hornets burnt more than six minutes of the game clock on their ensuing drive, but they were unable to ultimately come away with points after turning the ball over on downs at Cornersville’s 21-yard line.
The Bulldogs broke off a 79-yard touchdown run one play later to make it a 17-14 game with eight minutes remaining.
With the lead narrowed down to just three points, the Hornets put together one more scoring drive as Johnson carried the ball into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown to make it a 24-14 game with five minutes to play.
The Hornets made two more defensive stops in the final minutes of the contest as a turnover on downs and an interception by Gavin Morgan wrapped up the victory for Huntland.
Johnson carried the ball 17 times for 98 yards and had one catch for 11 yards on the day.
Stewart had 21 carries for 97 yards, one completion for 34 yards and three catches for 47 yards.
Payton Reed completed four passes for 58 yards. Morgan had one catch for 34 yards.
Robertson said he was proud of the way his players performed in the contest, but they will need to refocus quickly with a pivotal contest against Richland High School coming up.
“We’re going to go to work on Monday getting ready for Richland. It’s a big game as far as playoff seeding,” Robertson said. “We’ve got to wash this one away pretty quick.”
With the win, the Hornets improved to 5-4 on the season and 2-2 in regional play.
They will next play Friday at Richland. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Hornets can clinch their third straight playoff berth with a victory on Friday, but a loss would leave them out of the playoffs.