HACKLEBURG - Hackleburg suffered its second-straight loss with Phillips defeating the Panthers 38-8 on Friday night, Oct. 12.
The loss dropped Hackleburg to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in Class 1A, Region 8. The victory gave Phillips its third-consecutive win and improved the Bears to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in Region 8.
Following the Panthers’ sixth loss on the season, head coach Rod Hudson was straight-to-the-point about what the team needs to improve.
“We’ve got to play better,” the 10-year veteran coach said. “We didn’t tackle very well and didn’t make plays when we had a chance to. We’ve got to be better in all phases of the game. We have to play harder.”
The first quarter was a defensive battle throughout before Phillips found the end zone for the first score of the game with 2:04 left in the opening stanza.
The Bears’ Andrew York took a handoff and ran in from four yards out. Quarterback Ken Edwards carried in the 2-point try to give Phillips an 8-0 lead late in the first quarter.
After stopping the Panther offense, Phillips’ William Hall scored on a 5-yard run. Edwards connected with Ethan Hunter on the 2-point attempt to extend the Bear advantage to 16-0 with 10:31 left in the first half.
The final first-half score came when Phillips’ Andrew Gilbert crossed the goal line from 11 yards out. Terry Hanner carried in the 2-point attempt to give the Bears a 24-point lead with 14.8 second left in the opening half.
Phillips’ fourth rushing touchdown came with Hunter Lanford scoring on a 27-yard scamper. Edwards found Gilbert on the 2-point attempt to push Phillips’ advantage to 32-0 with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
The Bears’ William Scruggs scored on a 21-yard run with 9:37 left in the game to give Phillips a 38-0 lead after a missed extra-point attempt.
Hackleburg’s only touchdown of the contest came with 4:28 remaining in the game. Quarterback Kaleb Moore threw a pass to Josh Cooper for a 13-yard score. Moore carried in the 2-point attempt to make the eventual final of 38-8, Phillips.
The Bear offense finished with 388 total yards after grinding out 315 rushing yards and finding with 73 yards through the air.
Edwards completed 6-of-13 passes for 73 yards and had five rushes for nine yards.
Dillan Mitchell led the rushing attack with 110 yards on 12 attempts. He added a 3-yard reception. York added 85 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Hall had seven carries for 50 yards and a score.
Scruggs had four rushes for 35 yards and a score while pulling in two passes for 39 yards. Hunter had two catches for 18 yards while Matthew Bradbury pulled in a 16-yard reception.
Hackleburg’s offense managed just 164 total yards on offense--84 passing and 80 rushing.
Moore completed 13-of-21 pass attempts for 84 yards and a touchdown. The senior added 21 carries for 54 yards.
Ethan Heggy had three rushes for 24 yards and pulled in five passes for 29 yards. Sawyer Lynch carried the ball four times for 11 yards and added a 16-yard reception.
Cooper pulled in four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. Camron Randolph had three receptions for a gain of two yards.
Defensively, Lynch piled up 11 tackles while Joseph Carter added eight stops. Heggy and Jeitt Traywich each had seven tackles. Noah McCarley had six stops while Moore added five tackles.
Kyle Dulaney, Evan Holmes and Gavin Pyburn each added three tackles. Dulaney also forced and recovered a fumble. Kenneth Holcomb, Randolph and Cooper added two stops while James Montgomery and Jacob Rector had a tackle apiece.
Phillips does not play this week as the team enters its open week before hosting Cherokee (2-5, 2-2). The Indians host Hackleburg this Friday night, Oct. 19, with playoff hopes on the line for both schools.
Hackleburg’s Hudson noted the importance of the upcoming matchup with the Indians.
“Next week is for a playoff spot, so we’ve got to come to play against a good Cherokee team,” Hudson commented.
Hackleburg trails in the all-time series with Cherokee 7-9-1. The Panthers defeated the Indians 40-15 last season.
Currently, the Region 8 standings show Waterloo (7-1 overall) in first place at 5-0, followed by Mars Hill (6-1 overall) at 4-0, Phillips (4-4 overall) at 3-2, Cherokee (2-5 overall) at 2-2, Hackleburg (1-6 overall) at 1-3 and Shoals Christian (1-7 overall) and Vina (0-7 overall), both at 0-4.
See complete story in the Journal Record.