Photo: Hokes Bluff High’s Tristin Billingsley catches a touchdown pass during the Eagles’ 47-7 victory last Friday (Sept. 28). (Courtesy of Alex Chaney)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Hokes Bluff did not have too much difficulty in posting its 32nd series win over Glencoe last Friday (Sept. 28).
After punting on their first series, the Class 4A No. 2 Eagles (5-0) scored on their next seven possessions on the way to a 47-7 victory at Hokes Bluff.
Darrian Meads once again was the man of the hour for the Eagle offense, as the junior halfback rushed 14 times for 167 yards and four touchdowns. He left the game after the opening drive of the second half, a series that ended in a Hokes Bluff touchdown that made it 41-0.
The Yellow Jackets (0-5) hung in for most of the first quarter before the proverbial roof fell in. The Glencoe defense forced a punt following a sack by Carson McCreless on third down. But the visitors promptly went three-and-out, and five plays later Meads broke loose for the first of his four scores on the evening.
The Yellow Jackets did not get on the scoreboard until the 3:17 mark of the third quarter on Andrew Massarro’s 70-yard TD. That score was essentially window dressing, however, as Hokes Bluff was enjoying a 47-point lead at that point.
“Glencoe’s kids played extremely hard the first quarter and really took it to us,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Robertson. “Then Darrian broke one and kind of got things going for us. I thought we played hard for most of the night, and our backups played better than they had been. “It was obvious that we had the better players tonight. This was a rivalry game and you can’t ever take anything for granted, but I thought we were the better team, and we eventually proved it.”
Robertson was pleased that his offense did not turn the ball over and that his defense forced three turnovers, two of which led to touchdowns. Prior to the final drive of the game, the Yellow Jackets earned only three first downs, none as a result of a penalty.
“We haven’t turned the ball over a lot this year, and I hope we continue that, and [forcing the turnovers] helped us in field position,” said Robertson.
The Eagles finished with 292 total yards, with 250 coming on the ground. Glencoe had 184 total yards.
Tucker Griffin added 52 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries for Hokes Bluff, while Austin Gulledge was 2 of 3 in passing for 42 yards and a touchdown.
For Glencoe, Massarro gained 75 yards on five carries, while Eli Huff rushed eight times for 42 yards.
Meads’ 52-yard run and Ethan Whitcomb’s PAT with 1:09 left in the first quarter was the first of five Eagle touchdowns in the first half.
Meads found the end zone from 38 yards out early in the second period, while Brandon Hill’s 45-yard kickoff return set up Meads’ 1-yard TD run at 7:16.
Hokes Bluff’s Dylan Boatner recovered a Glencoe fumble on the next play from scrimmage, which led to Meads’ 6-yard touchdown run and a 27-0 advantage.
The Eagles special teams set up the next Hokes Bluff score when Tucker Marsh recovered a blocked punt at the Yellow Jacket 31.
On the first play of the drive, Gulledge and Tristin Billingsley hooked up for a touchdown pass with just under five minutes left in the first half.
A 29-yard run by Hunter Burke highlighted the initial possession of the second half. Gulledge polished off the series with a 1-yard touchdown keeper.
Three plays into the ensuing Glencoe drive, Hokes Bluff’s Austin Elder recovered a fumble at the Yellow Jacket 21. The visitors cashed in three plays later on Griffin’s 6-yard touchdown run at 6:30 of the third period.
Glencoe avoided the shutout on Massarro’s long touchdown run, and both head coaches cleared their benches for most of the fourth quarter.
Glencoe head coach Brian Aired felt that the final score was not indicative of his team’s effort.
“We played hard in the first half, and especially the first quarter, but we had some silly penalties on the offensive side of the ball like false starts and illegal procedures, and you can’t do that against a team like Hokes Bluff.
“[The Hokes Bluff/Glencoe rivalry] is stressful but it’s fun,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of respect for the Hokes Bluff coaches and players. They’ve got a good football team and we wish them the best of luck this year. We’re trying to get to their level, so we’ve got to continue to work hard.”
Aired put his finger on the main reason why his Yellow Jackets are still searching for their first win.
“Consistency. We played hard and we played well for the first quarter tonight, and that’s been our MO in that we don’t do it on a consistent basis. That’s got to start with me and work its way down from there.”
Both teams resume region action the week. Hokes Bluff hosts Ashville, while Glencoe travels to Pleasant Valley.