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Lions Roar Past The Hornets

Tabor Kozuszek tries to fight through a tackle during the Hornets 54-21 loss to Carterville on September 29.

By Brent Huelsmann

The Nashville Hornets football team suffered their fourth loss of the season this past week, as they fell to the Carterville Lions 54-21. The Hornets dropped to 2-4 on the season, while Carterville moved to 4-2. The Hornets will be back at home this Friday night as they host conference rival Pinckneyville in the Homecoming game. The kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Carterville took the opening kickoff of the game, and it did not take long for them to score the first touchdown of the game. The Lions needed just six plays to get into the endzone, as Christian Rawlinson scored on fourth and goal from the two yard line to give the lions an early advantage less than two minutes into the game.

The first half was all Carterville as they quickly extended their lead to 13-0 midway through the first quarter when Brock Tuttle scored from 54 yards out. The score would stay constant through the end of the first, but the Lions would add to their lead, less than a minute into the second quarter as Tuttle would score again, this time from 17 yards out to give Carterville a 20-0 advantage.

After a failed fourth down conversion by the Hornets gave the ball back to the Lions, Carterville needed just two plays to make the game 26-0, as Tuttle scored his third touchdown of the first half on a 18 yard carry to give Carterville a 26-0 advantage.

After a punt from Nashville,
Carterville again got in the endzone to take a 33-0 lead as Rawlinson found Markas Lazkinis for a 13 yard touchdown.

The Hornets would score their only points of the first half on their next drive as they drove 71 yards in seven plays to score. Starting on their own 29 yard line, the Hornets got a huge 38 yard catch to move the ball across midfield. Nashville followed that up with another big play as Cameron Parker found Dalton Novak for a 22 yard completion. After a run by Jullian Metcalf got the ball within the five, the Hornets were pushed back fifteen yards due to a penalty. The Hornets would get another big reception by Novak to put the ball at the two, and Parker would cap off the drive as he bulldozed his way into the endzone for the score. Colin Laws would add the extra point, but the Hornets would still trail Carterville 33-7.

After halftime, the Hornets got the ball first, but went three-and-out and Carterville again got the ball. The Lions started on their own 33 yard line, and drove down the field in seven plays, capped off by a touchdown run from Rawlinson to extend their lead to 40-7.

The Hornets answered back on their next drive as Parker found Novak for a 14 yard touchdown that capped off a seven play 71 yard drive. Two big plays on the drive was a pass interference penalty on the Lions, as well as a 16 yard reception by Novak.

The Lions would again extend their lead on their next drive as they needed three plays to drive 53 yards for a touchdown. Carterville had one touchdown called back on the drive as a penalty negated a 55 yard touchdown catch by Lazkinis. On the next play after the penalty, the Lions almost scored again but were tackled at the eight yard line as Rawlinson found Justin Johnson for a 52 yard completion. On the next play Tuttle would score his fourth touchdown of the game to put the Lions up 47-14 late in the third quarter.

As the fourth quarter started, the Hornets were in the midst of a long drive, but it stalled out on the Carterville 24 yard line as Parker’s pass fell to the turf. When the Lions got the ball back they extended their lead further as Cameron Meade took a handoff 42 yards for the score to put the Lions up 54-14 with just over six minutes remaining.

Nashville would get the final score of the game with 2:42 remaining as Parker capped off a six play 61 yard drive to make the game 54-21.

After the game, coach Steven Kozuszek talked about the matchup. “I thought they were bigger, faster, and stronger and it showed. I thought our weaknesses were really exposed tonight. I don’t question our effort. I think Carterville came out a lot more aggressive, and that’s probably on us as a staff not having the kids ready to go, but they popped us in the mouth from the get go and we just couldn’t recover.”

The Hornets finished with 254 yards through the air and 153 yards on the ground. Parker completed 22 passes in the loss, with a touchdown. On the ground the Hornets were led by Parker who finished with 86 yards and two touchdowns. Metcalf added 65 yards on 18 carries, while Jackson Aulds ran the ball once for two yards. Novak led the Hornets with 120 yards receiving and one touchdown on eight catches. Tabor Kozuszek finished with a team-high 10 catches in the loss for 53 yards. Bergmann added 66 yards receiving on two catches while Rhys Biagi finished with one catch for eight yards.

Carterville rushed for 277 yards in the win, and were led by Tuttle who finished with 138 yards and four touchdowns. Through the air, the Lions finished with 196 yards and a touchdown.

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