Hornets fall to Clear Springs after rocky second half

·3 min read

Sep. 17—WEBSTER — Huntsville football made the nearly two-hour trek to Webster to square off against Clear Springs in its final test before district games start next week.

The Chargers would break the game open with a quick 10-0 lead before Huntsville would score. The Hornets fought back to trail by five in the second quarter before a Clear Springs field goal with two seconds left on the clock to take a 12-20 lead at the half.

Huntsville in the second half was unable to keep their defense off the field leading Clear Springs to a 46-18 win.

"I think they figured out they could line up and throw it on a rollout because we have young guys in the secondary," Huntsville head coach Rodney Southern said. "We weren't able to get a pass rush and when you don't get that and [they] can lay balls up, it's tough. We didn't move the ball well offensively either."

The Hornet's offense in the first half stalled in their opening two drives with a three-and-out and a fumble, leaving the Chargers solid field position early.

On their third drive, with Huntsville's punt team on the field, the Chargers were caught on fourth down as a direct snap to senior Matthew Tatum was taken 64 yards for the Hornet's first touchdown.

Clear Springs would turn and score on a big play of their own. A big 31-yard touchdown put the Chargers back up by 11-points in the first quarter.

The Hornets next drive proved to be their best. They would take 11 plays to go 76 yards as sophomore quarterback Austin Taylor ran it into the end zone. After that, the Hornets would steal a possession with an onside kick, which the Hornets recovered.

Huntsville would then run 12 plays before missing a field goal wide left, turning the ball back over to the Chargers.

"I thought we ran it decent," Southern said. "Matthew Tatum does what he does. I was just hoping for a first down. We still aren't consistent enough and some of that is the opposing defense. Some of it is us getting to a point where we can do one thing or another."

Defense for the Hornets had a strong first half but at the break struggled to find a groove. The Chargers would go down and score on their first three drives of the second half creating a hole the Hornets weren't able to dig out of.

While the defense was stuck on the field in the second half, the Hornets offense wasn't helping. Huntsville would have five straight drives where they had just one first down.

As the offense struggled, the defense was unable to gain any rest.

"We should have gotten out of the last series without them scoring but it's an inexperienced guy," Southern said. "That's an inexperienced guy and he has to learn from that. We played too many snaps in the second half defensively and we hurt ourselves giving them a short field. We have to correct it and I have to make sure it gets fixed."

Huntsville now has the chance to start with a clean slate as the district season is set to begin next Friday. The Hornets will match up with a Montgomery team that has seen its fair share of struggles this season.

With the slates clean and both teams holding an 0-0 record, the most important thing will be how the team responds in a game that truly matters.

"We have to go get the first one," Southern said. "The first one is critical. If you win the right games, you're likely in the playoffs. We have to take care of this one and we have a lot going on this week. These kids will respond. When you put them in a tough spot like we've put them in, they can't help but learn from it."