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By Logan Watson
The Hornets are living up to their name this season. Every new opponent steps onto the field full of bravado, but quickly changes their tune when that swarm of orange starts flying at them.
The first few minutes of Friday night’s game against Trinity Christian should have been a sign that things weren’t going to go well for the Lions. A fumbled kickoff return was recovered by TCA, then a handful of decent runs got the Lions moving in the right direction, but a deep pass in a 3rd and 8 situation was picked off by senior Aalyc Walker. Three plays later, the Hornets were in the end zone, thanks to a wild, 62-yard serpentine run from Dre McAllister.
Another bobbled return plus a four-and-out drive rattled the Lions, who served up a lackluster punt under pressure on 4th down that might have gone 15 yards. Another five plays, another Hornet touchdown in the books on McAllister’s second TD run, a 6-yard blast which almost mowed down yours truly on the sidelines. Sellers second attempt with the PAT was good, pushing to Hornets ahead 13-0 before the first buzzer.
South Gibson’s defensive line plugged up the Lions running routes throughout the night. The Lions fell into a bit of a rut on their third down attempts, opting for long passes that missed more than hit thanks to the SGC secondary, which dashed their Hail Mary hopes. McAllister punched up the middle for his third TD of the night on the Hornets’ fourth drive, giving the boys in orange a comfortable lead that didn’t waiver when the Lions snuck through on a long run for their first touchdown of the game, setting the score at 27-6 after a missed PAT.
With a healthy lead, the Hornets began to incorporate the pass into their offensive drives. The SGC quarterbacks came up short a couple of times, but Dustin Moore eventually connected with Calem Rich downfield for a nice 49-yard grab and one final Hornet TD of the first half.
“We want to be balanced offensively,” said Hornets Head Coach Scott Stidham. “That’s a hard transition to make when the run is working so well. We threw a lot just before halftime and picked up the most passing yards we’ve had this season. We like running the ball, but we like catching it, too.”
The Hornets were saddled with a handful of flags on their opening drive after the half, but held TCA to another four-snap drive. The Lions’ punt was snagged by Rich, who blazed around the Lions on the return for 73 yards and his second touchdown of the game, giving SGC a whopping 34-6 lead. A snap went about 10 yards too long for Trinity on their next drive, resulting in a safety for the Hornets and allowing some of the Hornets’ underclassmen to take the field in front of a hometown crowd.
“We were able to get a lot of people into the game,” said Coach Stidham of his rarely-seen talent taking the field. “We got to play quite a few of our JV players and they had a really good showing. It’s always a good feeling when you see your starters cheering on the rest of the guys from the sidelines.”
The Hornet underclassmen hit the ground running in the 4th quarter, with solid running from Blake Crouch and Kameron BeDen setting up Devin Hardwick to blast through the line for a TD run on a reverse.
The Lions found pay dirt on their next possession, throwing rocks into the end zone until connecting on a slant route. The two-point conversion for Trinity failed, and it was elementary math for the remaining 3.5 minutes of the game.
The Hornets will travel to Selmer this Friday to take on the McNairy Central Bobcats, who are riding high on back-to-back beatdown wins over South Side and Hollow Rock-Bruceton.
“This will be our first Region game of the season,” said Coach Stidham of the Bobcats, who have a new coach and one Region win under their belts already. “These are the games we need to win. They’ve really improved from last year and we’re walking onto a field we’ve never been to before, so it should be a really exciting game.”
The Hornets and Bobcats will kick off at 7:30 at McNairy Central, located about 1.5 hours from Medina on High School Road off of Highway 64 in Selmer. There will be plenty of room for overflow parking for all the Hornets fans that want to travel to the game.