Jullian Metcalf runs downfield during the Hornets 71-41 loss to Anna-Jonesboro on September 15.
By Brent Huelsmann
The Nashville Hornets suffered their second straight loss this past week and remain winless at home this season as the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats ran wild in a 71-41 win over Nashville. The Hornets moved to 1-3 on the season, as they prepare for a matchup against Sparta on September 22. Anna-Jonesboro moved to 3-0 on the season. Sparta is 1-3 on the season after defeating Pinckneyville 28-7 on September 15.
The Hornets got off to a good start in the contest as Nashville received the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in just five plays for a touchdown as Cameron Parker found Tanner Bergmann for a 35 yard touchdown to get the scoring started. Colin Laws would add the extra point to give Nashville a 7-0 lead.
It would be the last time the Hornets would have the lead as Anna-Jonesboro would take control from there.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats would be the benefit of a close call on an onside kick that gave Anna-Jonesboro the ball on the 49 yard line for their first drive of the game. Four plays later the Wildcats would get into the endzone as Jayce Turner would score his first touchdown of the game. An extra point by Jaryt Tripp would tie the game at seven.
After the Hornets were forced to punt the ball away, Anna-Jonesboro would strike quickly. The Wildcats would drive 75 yards on three plays, as Turner scored his second touchdown of the game to give Anna-Jonesboro the lead. Tripp’s extra point gave Anna-Jonesboro a 14-7 lead.
Nashville would get the ball back, but could not come away with points, as they punted the ball back to the Wildcats after the drive by the Hornets stalled out at the 41 yard line. Again Anna-Jonesboro would strike quickly, as Turner would score his third touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out. Tripp’s extra point would give Anna-Jonesboro a 21-7 lead with less than a minute to go in the first quarter.
With time winding down in the first, the Hornets would score the final touchdown of the quarter, as Jullian Metcalf scored from two yards out to cut into the Wildcat’s lead. Metcalf set up the touchdown with a long 62 yard run to put the Hornets inside the five yard line. Laws’ extra point cut the Anna-Jonesboro lead to 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Anna-Jonesboro would strike again on the first play of the second quarter as Bryce Osman took the ball 70 yards for a touchdown, to put the Wildcats back up by two touchdowns.
The score would hold constant until late in the second quarter when Turner scored his fourth touchdown of the game to extend the Wildcat’s lead. Anna-Jonesboro would add the two point conversion to take a 36-14 lead with 2:36 left before halftime.
The Hornets would have one more opportunity before half as Nashville got the ball on their own 35 yard line. Nashville would drive down the field and score a touchdown with just under ten seconds remaining before halftime as Parker scored from five yards out. Laws again would add the extra point and the teams would go into the break with Anna-Jonesboro leading 36-21.
After the game, coach Steven Kozuszek talked about mistakes in the first half. “By my count we had eight drops in the first half, and obviously those are physical mistakes, the kids aren’t trying to drop the ball, but if we catch half of those, I think we could have hold serve a little bit better with scoring. It was obvious the way they were gashing us, on the defensive side, we were going to have to keep up with them scoring and hope for a turnover something to break the momentum.”
The second half would be dominated by the Wildcats as they scored touchdowns on all five of their drives in the second half.
On their first drive after halftime, Turner would find the endzone for the fifth time, this time from 48 yards out to extend Anna-Jonesboro’s lead. Tripp would make the extra point to give the Wildcats a 43-21 lead.
After a three-and-out by the Hornets, Turner would score his fifth touchdown of the game, as he scored from 15 yards out to give Anna-Jonesboro a 49-21 lead after a missed extra point.
Again the Hornets offense could not find a rhythm and would give the ball back to the WIldcats after a turnover on downs. Anna-Jonesboro would score five plays later, this time on a 34 yard run from Reid Morrison. Tripp’s extra point put the Wildcats ahead 56-21.
The two teams would trade touchdowns the rest of the way, as Metcalf would score his second touchdown of the game late in the third quarter to cut the Wildcat’s lead to 28 points as the third quarter ended.
It would not take long for Anna-Jonesboro to strike again as Turner scored his seventh touchdown of the game with 10:08 remaining. Tripp gave the Wildcats a 63-28 lead.
On their next drive the Hornets would get a 64 yard touchdown run by Jackson Aulds to cut the Anna-Jonesboro lead to 56-34. Nashville would miss the extra point.
The Wildcats would score their final touchdown of the game when Damien Chrisp found the endzone for three yards out to put Anna-Jonesboro ahead 69-34. The Wildcats would fumble the snap on the extra point attempt, but they were able to recover and run the ball in for the two point conversion to take a 71-34 lead.
Nashville would get the final score of the game, when Aulds scored his second touchdown of the game. Laws extra point would make the score 71-41.
The Wildcats would run out the clock from there and take the win, to move to 3-0 on the season.
The Wildcats finished with 603 total yards, all of which came on the ground. Turner led the way with 270 yards and seven touchdowns.
Coach Kozuszek would talk about giving up so many yards on the ground. “Obviously we were not sound option wise, I’ll have to watch the film, but I’d have to say we had some mistakes on our option responsibilities, and I mean to put it the way it is, they were just better than us. They had good size up front and it made it tough.”
Kozuszek would go on to talk about the positives coming out of the game. “I think Metcalf has looked better every week. Every week he keeps running the ball harder and harder, and I think he’s only going to get better, and we need him too. We are so young at so many spots. You look at skill wise, all of our receiving core is going to be back, top two running backs will be back, so we have to keep seeing signs of improvements from those kids.”
Nashville finished with 504 total yards, 325 of which came on the ground. Metcalf and Aulds led the way as they both finished with 126 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Cameron Parker finished with 56 yards on the ground and a touchdown to go along with his 175 yards and touchdown through the air. Dalton Novak led the team with 84 yards receiving on six catches in the loss. Bergmann finished with 65 yards and a touchdown. Kozuszek finished with 18 yards on three catches.
The Hornets are on the road for their next two contests against Sparta and Carterville but return home for the Homecoming game against Pinckneyville on October 6.