Hill dominates in Generals comeback victoryPublished 9:59am Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The Horseshoe Bend Generals overcame an early deficit and controlled the flow of the game late to grab a 24-20 season-opening win over the Wadley Bulldogs Thursday at Curtis Lynch Memorial Field.
Horseshoe Bend head coach Jason Franklin said the Generals never stopped fighting in Thursday’s win.
“Our guys battled. We told them it’s not a one-quarter game, and it’s not a two-quarter game. There are four quarters, and they’ve got to play all four quarters,” Franklin said. “I feel like we were able to withstand the punches they gave us and were able to make some first downs at the end of the ball game when we needed them. I’m proud of our guys. This is a big rivalry for us, so any time you get a big rivalry win, it can set the tone for your season.”
Wadley jumped out to an early 8-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Generals responded in the second, as quarterback Major Abernathy scrambled in from 26 yards out for a touchdown with 11:18 left in the first half. Mathan Colley added the extra point for the Generals that cut the deficit to 8-7. Horseshoe Bend kept the momentum after an Antwan Hardnett interception set the Generals up at the Wadley 20-yard line with 7:44 left in the second. Two plays later, Horseshoe Bend running back Drew Hill ran it in for a 15-yard score, with another Colley extra point giving the Generals a 14-8 lead.
After a stalled offensive drive, the Generals got a break when Wadley’s Dakota Brown muffed the punt, and Horseshoe Bend recovered at the Bulldogs’ 15-yard line before Hill scored his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run with the extra point making it 21-8 going into the half. Hardnett picked off another pass in the third to set up a 20-yard field goal by Colley that made it 24-8, but the Bulldogs started to mount a comeback attempt.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wadley’s Devin Freeman raced up the home sideline for a 90-yard touchdown that made it 24-14 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
After throwing another interception to Hardnett on a previous possession, Wadley quarterback Caleb Calhoun came back on the next drive and found a wide open Brandon Norris for a 40-yard score that made it 24-20 after a failed two-point attempt with 4:46 remaining.
The Bulldogs opted for a pooch kick instead of an onside attempt, but the Generals recovered, and Hill had two first-down runs on the final drive to help close out the season-opening win.
Hill led Horseshoe Bend with 158 yards rushing on 23 carries with two touchdowns. Hardnett had three interceptions, while Generals’ linebacker Jackson Sexton had 13 tackles, and Hunter White had10 tackles. Calhoun had 62 yards rushing on 13 carries for the Bulldogs, including the game’s first touchdown on a 2-yard quarterback sneak. Kamaury Avery added 70 yards on 11 carries for Wadley. The Generals will return to action Friday at 7 p.m. in their region opener at Reeltown.