Bulldogs squash Hornets
Coming off a 38-20 road win over Perry County the previous week, the Cornersville Bulldogs notched their second straight victory on Friday night when they defeated the Huntland Hornets 39-14 at home.
Having narrowly lost to Huntland 28-26 last year, the Bulldogs (2-1) put Friday's contest out of reach early and built a 32-7 lead in the first half. Cornersville then tacked on a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to open up a 39-7 advantage before cruising to the 25-point victory.
With Friday's triumph, the Bulldogs have now won four out of the last five meetings against the Hornets.
Cornersville had little trouble moving the ball against Huntland (0-3) and racked up 416 yards of total offense, but occasionally stopped themselves by committing five turnovers in the contest with four coming inside of the Hornets' 35-yard line.
"I'm glad we got the win, but there wasn't a whole lot to be happy about tonight. We were sloppy all night long and made too many mistakes," said CHS coach Ray Stocstill. "We need to get that corrected because we play Mt. Pleasant next week and that's going to be a big challenge for us."
Despite throwing three interceptions, Bulldog quarterback Hayden McMahon still completed 15-of-19 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior wide out Stone Riner led Cornersville's receiving corps by snaring four passes for 68 yards, while Tyler Lowery tallied three receptions for 34 yards. Jamie Crowell and Cody Blackburn also caught two passes apiece for 43 and 38 yards respectively with Blackburn scoring a touchdown. Chance Dyer hauled in a 31-yard touchdown catch as well and Justin Black had one reception for six yards.
The Bulldogs once again augmented their passing attack with an effective ground game, as they piled up 191 yards rushing while averaging 5 yards per carry. Senior tailback Zach Small broke the century mark for the third consecutive week by rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
"Zach ran the ball well tonight and made some nice cuts. He's been pretty consistent for us this season," said Stocstill.
Dyer also toted the ball nine times for 44 yards and a touchdown, while McMahon added 18 yard rushing on five carries.
Cornersville turned in their second straight solid defensive performance, as they limited Huntland to just 181 yards of total offense while forcing three Hornet turnovers.
Aided by a 74-yard touchdown run by Cameron Mehaffey, Huntland finished with 150 yards on the ground, but averaged just 2.7 yards on their other 28 carries. Mehaffey paced the Hornets' offense with 71 yards rushing on four carries, while Dillon Stevens tallied 69 yards on 19 carries.
Huntland quarterback Evan Ray had a tough night throwing the ball and completed only 5-of-15 passes for 31 yards.
Cody Coblentz recorded eight tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the Bulldogs' defensively. Blackburn and Josh Singleton notched seven and six tackles respectively as well with Blackburn recovering two fumbles, while Devante Spencer and Bobby Wayne Lee both registered five tackles. Nick Groves, Kyle Dickson, and Dyer also tallied four tackles apiece, and Black, Lane Hagood, and Neil Davis all had three tackles.
Cornersville got off to a fast start and marched 57 yards to the end zone in four plays on the opening possession of the game to grab an 8-0 lead with 10:30 left in the first quarter.
After Small ripped off consecutive runs of 22 and nine yards, Huntland stopped McMahon for no gain on a quarterback draw before Small weaved his way through the Hornet defense for a 26-yard touchdown scamper. Crowell was unable to handle the snap cleanly on the extra point attempt, but quickly improvised and found Groves in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
Following a three and out by Huntland, defensive back Austin Bolden picked off McMahon deep in Hornet territory on CHS's ensuing possession.
Mehaffey then burst up the middle for a 74-yard touchdown jaunt two plays later before Austin Scott made the extra point to narrow the gap to 8-7 midway through the first quarter.
The Bulldogs started their third drive with good field position after Dickson scooped up an onside kick by the Hornets at midfield and rumbled 13 yards to the Huntland 37.
Small then picked up 15 and 10 yards on consecutive runs to move the ball down to the Hornet 12, but Cornersville netted only five yards on their next three plays and had to settle for a 23-yard field by Victor Palma to stretch their lead to 11-7 with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
On Huntland's ensuing possession, Coblentz jarred the ball loose from Ray and pounced on the pigskin to give the Bulldogs possession at the Hornet 31.
McMahon then hit Blackburn for a 21-yard touchdown strike a few moments later to make it 17-7 late in the opening quarter, before Cornersville failed on the two-point conversion attempt.
After forcing another Hornet punt, Small scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to cap a five-play, 36-yard scoring drive by the Bulldogs. Crowell then ran in the two-point conversion to give CHS a 25-7 advantage with 8:51 left in the second quarter.
Huntland punted again on their next offensive series before Cornersville stretched their lead to 32-7 with 3:56 remaining in the half when Dyer caught a 4th down screen pass from McMahon and raced 31 yards for a touchdown while Palma tacked on the extra point.
Cornersville then stopped the Hornets on downs late in the half at the Huntland 38, but were unable to cash in on the excellent field position after losing a fumble at the 16-yard line.
The Bulldogs turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the second half, but marched 56 yards to pay dirt in nine plays on their fourth offensive series of the stanza to forge a 39-7 advantage with 8:43 left in regulation.
Following a CHS holding penalty, McMahon hit Crowell for a 38-yard gain to convert a 3rd and 12 situation before Dyer bulled his way for a 10-yard run to move the ball down to the Hornet 10. Dyer then scored on a four-yard touchdown run three plays later while Palma converted the extra point.
Blackburn recovered a fumble by Bolen on Huntland's ensuing possession, but the Bulldogs failed to pick up a first down before Stevens scored on a three-yard touchdown run against Cornersville's reserves on the Hornets' last drive of the game for the 39-14 final.