Senior Tanner Bergmann makes the catch down the sideline during the Hornets 17-12 win over Massac County.
By Brent Huelsmann
After an opening season loss to the Carlyle Indians, the Nashville Hornets football team bounced back with a 17-12 win over Massac County, avenging a loss last season. The Patriots beat the Hornets 14-13 last season. The Hornets evened their record to 1-1 on the season, with their next game against the 2-0 Wesclin Warriors on September 8. It will be the Hornets first home game of the season. Game time will be at 7 p.m.
The Hornets offense got off to a slow start against the Patriots on Friday night as they fumbled on their opening possession, giving Massac County the ball. The Hornets defense stepped up as they force a punt on the Patriots first possession of the game.
On their next possession the Hornets started on their own 20 yard line, and drove 46 yards before the drive ended on a failed fourth down conversion. As the first quarter came to a close, neither team could put points on the board, but the Hornets were driving.
Early in the second quarter, the Hornets struck first as Cameron Parker found Tanner Bergman for a eight yard touchdown to take the lead. An extra point by Colin Laws gave Nashville a 7-0 lead.
The Hornets defense would make the lead hold until late in the second quarter when Patriot quarterback Mason Corzine found Isaiah Thompson for a 37 yard touchdown with less than 30 seconds remaining until halftime. The Patriots went for the two point conversion, but after a penalty on the original try, the Patriots could not push the ball across and trailed by one at halftime.
After the Hornets defense forced a punt on the first drive after the break, the Hornets came out with a drive of their own. A drive that started on their own 20 yard line sputtered out at the end, as Nashville had to settle for a 21 yard field goal by Laws to take a 10-6 lead over Massac County.
After the Hornets defense forced another punt, the Hornets would embark on another scoring drive. The Hornets would get the ball on their own 39 yard line and drove all the way down to the Massac County four yard line as they third quarter ended.
Facing a fourth and goal as the fourth quarter started, Coach Steven Kozuszek bypassed another short field goal to go for the touchdown. On the ensuing play, Parker found Tabor Kozuszek for a touchdown to extend the Hornets lead. Laws again would add the extra point to give the Hornets a 17-6 advantage.
After the game, Coach Kozuszek talked about the decision not to kick the field goal. Probably the biggest thing going into not kicking the field goal, was that we knew if they got a touchdown they were going to go for two, so I didn’t really feel comfortable with seven. I asked the kids and they said they wanted to go for it.”
Massac County would quickly strike back as on fourth and seven from their own 33 yard line, Corzine again found Thompson, this time for a 67 yard score. Again the Patriots would fail the two point conversion and the Hornets kept a 17-12 lead.
After the Hornets next drive failed to produce any points, the Patriots would have a final opportunity to take the lead. The Patriots started their drive on their own 32 yard line, and drove all the way down to the Nashville 21 with 2:23 remaining in the game. The Patriots needed to convert a 4th and 5 to keep the drive alive, but could not get the conversion as Thompson was tackled well short of the first down marker to give the Hornets the ball back.
On their next drive The Hornets got a huge 44 yard run from Justin Aulds to seal the game. Parker would kneel three times to give the Hornets their first win of the season.
After the game, Bergmann talked about the importance of the game. “It was a must win for us. We lost that first one, and we have all these good teams coming up. We have to get to six wins, get into the playoffs, and make a deep run.”
After three interceptions in the first game of the season, Parker did not throw an interception in the win. Parker finished 18-28 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Bergmann was the leading receiver with 140 yards and a touchdown in the win. Dalton Novak caught five passes for 51 yards, and Kozuszek caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. Overall the Hornets rushed for 106 yards on the ground in the win. Aulds led the way with 62 yards rushing, 44 of which came on the game-sealing run in the fourth quarter. Julian Metcalf finished with 28 yards on eight carries, and Parker finished with yards rushing in the game. Bryan Meyer rushed the ball twice for -8 yards.