By Brent Huelsmann
The Nashville Hornets football team stayed undefeated as they traveled to Sparta this past Friday to take on the Bulldogs. The Hornets offense got off to a rough start as the first pass by Andrew Kash was intercepted by Devin Brown of the Bulldogs. The Hornet defense would step up forcing a three and out to give Nashville the ball back. The Hornets offense went back to work using a timely penalty on fourth down to give Nashville a first down. Just three plays later, Kash would find Hunter Schultze for a 39 yard TD to give Nashville a 6-0 lead. Jaris Dalman added the extra point to make it 7-0.
The defense then got the ball right back as Ethan Reid picked off a Sparta pass setting the Nashville offense up near midfield. A short five play drive saw Kash find Royce Newman for his second touchdown pass of the day. Dalman again added the extra point to give Nashville a 14-0 lead. The Hornets defense was stout throughout this game as they forced another turnover on the next series. Royce Newman sacked the quarterback forcing a fumble that was recovered by Erik Harkness.
After trading punts on the next two series, Kash would throw his third touchdown of the game finding Newman for a 69 yard TD. The extra point by Dalman gave the Hornets a commanding 21-0 lead. Right before half Sparta was able to get on the board when Drew Kordys found Gabe Yearian for a 44 yard TD to cut Nashville's lead 21-7 after the extra point.
Nashville's defense forced a stop to open up the third quarter giving the Hornet offense the ball back starting at their own 20. Hunter Schultze got loose for a 24 yard run before catching a 55 yard pass from Kash setting up the Nashville offense first and goal at the 6 yard line. Kyle Schnitker ran the ball in on the next play for a 6 yard TD. Dalman's extra point made it 28-7 Nashville.
The Hornets' next drive took advantage of a fumbled punt from Sparta setting the Hornets up first and goal on the 5 yard line. Hunter Schultze would score his third TD of the night. The Hornets missed the extra point but still held a commanding 34-7 lead late in the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter began Sparta drove down to trim the Hornet lead to 34-13. After a punt by the Nashville offense, the Bulldogs were set to go back on offense. The defense for Nashville got their third takeaway of the game when Dalman tipped and intercepted a pass from Sparta's quarterback. Dalman would then take the ball and score from 6 yards out to push the lead to 40-13. The Bulldogs would score once more on a 30 yard TD pass from Drew Kordys to Alyze Nesbitt to make it 40-19. The two-point conversion was good to make the score 40-21. The Hornets would run the clock out from there pushing the Hornets record to 5-0 on the season.
Kash finished 5-11 with 199 yards and 3 TD in the game. Newman caught two of those passes, both touchdowns and finished with 98 yards. Hunter Schultze also got close to 100 yards receiving catching two passes for 94 yards with 1 touchdown. The Hornets finished with 141 yards on the ground with Schultze carrying the ball 13 times for 57 yards, Schnitker carried 14 times for 63 yards with a touchdown, and Dalman carried the ball 5 times for 12 yards and a touchdown.
When asked about the defense after the game, Coach Kuhn said “ we're starting to see the stuff we emphasize in practice. We talk about, if the balls on the ground we treat in like a fumble, we fly around to the ball, we talk about when we're on defense, go get the ball back.” Coach Kuhn also praised the offense saying, “ It's not one guy, it's a multitude of guys. Every week it's someone else.”
Next week the Hornets travel to Carterville to face off against the Lions. Carterville is coming off a close win agianst Anna-Jonesboro this past week and has a record of 2-3 with losses to Benton, DuQuoin, and Murphysboro.