Journey’s End – Hornet Football Squad’s Postseason Bid Ends With Defeat At Auburn

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Kyle Schnitker fights for extra yards against the Auburn Trojans defense on Saturday.

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Hornets seniors Erik Harkness and Royce Newman converge on the quarterback in Saturday’s playoff loss to the Auburn Trojans.

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By Brent Huelsmann

The Nashville Hornets postseason run came to a close after a chilly game on Saturday as they fell to the Auburn Trojans by a final score of 22-6 . The season marked just the third time in school history that the Hornets football team advanced to the semifinals of the Class 2A IHSA Playoffs. The Hornets defeated New Berlin, Niantic-Sangamon Valley, and Auburn throughout the playoffs. The Hornets finished the year 9-4.

After getting off to a fast start in their two previous playoff games, the tables were turned on Nashville as the Hornets found themselves trailing early in the game. Turnovers and a blocked punt, gave Auburn short fields, and forced Nashville to play from behind throughout the game.

Coach Kuhn said after the game “ we've been very fortunate to create turnovers and that would give us field position and momentum we need, and we didn't get that today.”

Auburn took their first possession of the game and drove 51 yards down the field. The 13 play drive, which featured 10 runs, was capped off by a 1 yard run by Trojan quarterback Drew Chance.

Both teams battled the elements throughout the game, as the temperatures began in the low 30s with a wind chill that brought the temperature into the 20s.

The Hornets were able to move the ball on their next drive, picking up a couple first downs, and reaching midfield, but the drive stalled, and a blocked punt, put the Hornets defense in a difficult position. Six plays later, the Trojans found the endzone again as running back Ryan McLaughlin scampered to the endzone from 18 yards out, to put the Hornets down by 14 points.

The Hornets defense would settle in, the rest of the first half. After giving up two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Hornets were able to keep Auburn quiet the rest of the first half. The Hornets offense could not get rolling, as the Hornets repeatedly found themselves in third and long situations. “Any offense you can't go second and long or third and long, we're built for second and five and third and three.”

After halftime, the Hornets were able to find the endzone on their first drive of the second half. Nashville took the ball, and marched 74 yards capped off by a six yard touchdown run by Kyle Schnitker, to make the score 6-14 The Hornets could not keep the momentum as Auburn took their next drive and marched 66 yards, and McLaughlin scored his second touchdown of the game. A two point conversion made the scroe 6-22.

The Hornets would make another last ditch effort, in the fourth quarter, but Andrew Kash's pass was tipped and intercepted, sealing the loss for the Hornets.

After the game, Coach Kuhn couldn't praise the team enough. “There was never a game when we weren't outworked, there were things that didn't go our way, and we just couldn't get it done to make that trip to Dekalb.”

Before the sesaon, the senior group on the Hornets football team chose the word legacy to describe this season. Coach Kuhn described their legacy as “Warriors, just absolut warriors, when it had to get done,when our backs were against the wall, we battled.”

“This was my first freshman group, and to take this group to the semi-finals, it would've been a dream come true to go to DeKalb but I couldn't ask for a better script or a better story.” said an emotional Kuhn when talking about the seniors.

Although the Hornets offense struggled, the team was able to outgain Auburn in total yards 228-203. Hunter Schultze led the Hornets on the ground with 16 carries for 58 yards. Schnitker added 11 carries for 32 yards and a touchdown in the game. Through the air Kash finished 10-25 for 96 yards and two interceptions. Royce Newman finished with five catches for 70 yards in the game.

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Senior Hunter Schultze follows his blockers to find some running room, against the Auburn Trojans.

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TOP, Head Coach Tim Kuhn leads the team as the Nashville band plays after the team’s cinderella run through the IHSA Class 2A Playoffs came to an end against Auburn on Saturday November 21. RIGHT, Senior linebacker Bryce Paszkiewicz was overcome with emotion after playing his final game as a member of the Nashville Hornets. Paszkiewicz had a great season including an interception in the Hornets second playoff game against Niantic-Sangamon Valley.

By Brent Huelsmann

The Nashville Hornets cinderella season ended this past Saturday as the Hornets fell to the Auburn Trojans by a score of 6-22. The Hornets finished with 9 wins on the season and just four losses.

This season saw Nashville make it to the football semi-finals for just the third time in school history. The Hornets fought through a tough schedule that included four playoff teams in the regular season, Wesclin, Carterville, DuQuoin, and Columbia.

The Hornets fought tough conditions and made an amazing comeback in their first playoff game against New Berlin. The Hornets then blew out their next two opponents at home defeating Niantic-Sangamon Valley and Athens by a combined score of 80-32.

The Hornets finished with a home record of 5-1 and finished the season, as one of the top four teams among Class 2A in Illinois. The full story and recap can be found on page B1.