By Brent Huelsmann
The Hornets football team got their conference schedule underway as they took on the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats on September 18. A hard fought matchup, Nashville's defense stepped up late as the Hornets got the win 35-21 to stay undefeated on the season.
Anna-Jonesboro got the ball first in the game and marched down the field in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a two yard touchdown run by Jake Stark. Nashville would get the ball and use a big passing play from Andrew Kash to Ethan Reid for 24 yards to set them up close to midfield. The Hornets would then use a balanced running attack featuring Kyle Schnitker, Hunter Schultze, Jaris Dalman, and Kash to march down the field, with Schnitker running the ball into the endzone from 3 yards out to tie the game.
Both teams ran the ball well in the game. The Wildcats would eat up the rest of the first quarter on their next drive taking the ball into Nashville territory as the first quarter ended. The Wildcats would punch it in early in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead. The Hornets came right back on offense and used a huge third down pass from Kash to Schultze to keep their drive alive. The Hornets were in need of another big play on 4th and 6 as Kash found Reid for 8 yards and the first down. Schnitker, Schultze, and Dalman would lead the Hornets the rest of the way down the field, with Dalman punching the ball into the end zone from 11 yards out to tie the game at 14. The game stayed tied going into halftime as Anna-Jonesboro went for a hail mary at the end of the half. The pass was intercepted by Kash to preserve the tie.
The Hornets came out in the third quarter and marched right down the field using a big pass by Kash to Royce Newman, giving them the ball deep in Wildcats' territory. Hunter Schultze would then score the touchdown from 6 yards out to give Nashville their first lead of the game 21-14. The Wildcats started their next drive with back to back to back big runs by Trenton Turner to get inside the Nashville 5 yard line, allowing Jayce Turner to score the game-tying touchdown.
The Hornets next drive started at their own 20 yard line, but Nashville used a steady run game to move the ball inside the Wildcats' 5 yard line. A failed fourth down conversion, left the game tied and gave Anna-Jonesboro the ball back. The Hornets defense stepped up in the next series as the Hornets forced and recovered a fumble giving their offense the ball back inside the 10 yard line. It didn't take long for Nashville to take the laed as Schultze scored from the one yard line five plays later to give the Hornets a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats got the ball back hoping to drive down the field to tie the game but fumbled the ball, allowing the Hornets to take over. Two plays later Nashville pushed the game further out of reach as Schultze took the ball 66 yards for his third touchdown of the game. The Wildcats would try one last time to come back, but back to back sacks and an interception by Cameron Parker sealed the win for the Hornets.
The Hornets gained 265 yards on the ground led by Schultze who finished with 17 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Schnitker added 72 yards on 12 carries and Dalman finished with 28 yards on 7 carries. Kash finished 9-10 through the air to go along with his 22 yards rushing. On the defensive side the Hornets forced four turnovers in the game.
After the game Coach Kuhn praised the team effort. “It’s not just one guy, it’s always somebody.” Coach also talked about the big conference win “It was a solid win, at times we probably didn’t do what we needed to on defense, but again this group of guys finds a way, when we need to make plays.”
The Hornets are back in action Friday night as they travel to face fellow unbeaten Sparta at 7:00.