HARTSELLE, Alabama -- The Hartselle Tigers, down two scores in the second half, came roaring back to get the 22-21 win over undefeated Oxford 22-21 at J.P. Cain Stadium on Friday night. With Hartselle down 21-7 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to get the win.
Hartselle scored late in the game and kicked the extra point to tie the game at 21, but Oxford was flagged for offsides and put the ball at the one-yard line. The Tigers pushed the ball over the end zone, and the defense made the last stance to fend off Oxford. "We played our guts out," said Tigers head coach Bryan Moore. "We fought for 48 minutes, and I'm really proud of them. We kept fighting, and our defense got big stops in the end while our offense came alive in the fourth quarter."
Oxford (5-1) scored first in the game, and it came right before halftime. Oxford came close on a few times, but penalties cost them on a couple of first-half drives but could not overcome over 100 yards of penalties in the game. With 1:08 left in the second quarter, Mason Mims found Nick Richardson on a 49-yard touchdown pass on a wheel route for an Oxford score. With the touchdown, the Yellow Jackets took a 7-0 lead.
With 8:35 left in the third quarter, Mims threw to Camare Hampton on a 1-yard touchdown pass to put the Yellow Jackets up 14-0. With 5:31 left in the third quarter, Hartselle drove the ball and scored on a Noah Lee 7-yard touchdown run, and Hartselle cut into the Oxford lead 14-7.
With 2:16 left in the third quarter, Jaydon Thomas scored on a two-yard touchdown run; the Yellow Jackets took a 21-7 lead, and the Oxford offense seemed like they found some confidence. "I thought we played extremely hard," said Oxford head coach Sam Adams. "I was disappointed that we didn't assemble any drives late in the third and fourth quarters. We punted four times in a row after we went ahead 21-7. We have to clean up a lot of penalties. This will be the first time when we prepare for things that didn't go our way."
With 7:39 left in the fourth quarter, Lee found Markus Tapscott on a 41-yard touchdown pass play in the end zone for a Tigers score, and Hartelle only trailed 21-14 midway through the fourth quarter. With 3:52 left in the game, Ri Fletcher scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, and Hartselle was just down one point.
Oxford kicked the extra point, but with the offside call, Hartselle went for the two points, and Lee powered the ball in from the one-yard line for Hartselle to take the one-point lead in the game. "We had a lot of fight when we were down 21-7 in the game," said Tigers QB Lee. "It speaks a lot about this team and how we stayed together to the end."
Up next, Hartselle will host undefeated Muscle Shoals, while Oxford will host Pell City.