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Ryne Gallacher / For Tallapoosa Publishers Thorsby’s defense knocks the ball from Reeltown.

The Reeltown Rebels had their hands full in a 22-8 road win against the Thorsby Rebels in Class 2A Region 4 football action. 

After a huge kickoff return from Cameron Faison, Reeltown (7-0, 4-0) was in prime position to score the football. But the drive stalled after two negative-yard runs and a turnover on downs. 

“We have got to start faster and more aggressive to start games,” Reeltown coach Matt Johnson said. “They whooped us on the line of scrimmage in the first half but we came out in the second half and got back to Reeltown football.” 

The Thorsby (3-4, 2-2) offense kept the Reeltown defense on the field most of the first quarter with a long 12-play drive that ended in a turnover on downs. 

It was the Eric Shaw show in the first half as he recorded five tackles on the first defensive series for Reeltown. Then following both teams’ turnovers on downs, Logan Hunt connected with Shaw on a 25-yard touchdown pass. 

Hunt started for the injured Iverson Hooks who dressed but didn’t play for precautionary reasons. 

The next series, the Reeltown defense forced a punt but the defense was back on the field one play later with a Hunt interception — the first of two in the first half. The defense stood tall, forcing another turnover on downs. 

Reeltown took the field again on offense with a little over two minutes remaining. The Rebels were forced to throw a Hail Mary with 10 seconds left after the clock was never stopped on an incompletion the play before, causing the second interception from Hunt and a very unhappy Rebel sideline. 

The second half got off to a shaky start when Thorsby came down the first drive and put the ball in the end zone followed by a two-point conversion that put Thorsby up 8-7 over Reeltown. 

After getting the ball only seven times in the first half, Reeltown decided it wanted to feed its best running back in Faison. Faison took three straight carries on the next drive but the Rebels couldn’t muster up more than a first down and were forced to punt. 

The defense stood its ground again led by Shaw, who decided to lay the wood on Thorsby’s running back on back-to-back plays that set up a punt that was botched, giving Reeltown the ball on Thorsby’s 25-yard line. One play later Tre Tre Hughley took a handoff the whole way for a touchdown. 

A trick play by Reeltown on the two-point conversion gave the Rebels a 15-8 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

Thorsby, feeling desperate, started to throw the ball a little too early and the Reeltown defense forced yet another turnover on downs. 

Reeltown smelled blood in the water and attacked the Thorsby defense with a mixture of inside runs with Scooter Brooks and outside zone runs with Faison, leading to a 2-yard touchdown by Hughley — his second of the game to put the Rebels up, 22-8. 

By that time Thorsby was on the ropes and knew it. The first play on offense was a deep pass that was intercepted by Reeltown’s Johnny Brown, all but clinching the victory for Reeltown which attempted to run the clock out. 

Thorsby’s offense saw the field only one more time in another desperate attempt at a huge play but failed.

Ryne Gallacher is a regular columnist and correspondent for The Outlook.