By Mary Elizabeth Dial/Staff Correspondent
Hokes Bluff High School secured a spot in the state playoffs last Friday, Oct. 14 with a 35-6 win over Class 4A, Region 5 rival Anniston in Hokes Bluff. This will be the Eagles’ first postseason appearance since 2007.
“It’s been a tough three or four years here, but we never quit,” Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Robertson said after the game. “I’m real proud of my seniors… they all stuck with me.”
The Eagles, who won their fifth straight game after an 0-3 start, started the game strong with a touchdown by senior Fisher Simmons in the first half of the first quarter.
Anniston took possession but faced a large chunk of field between the Bulldog 26-yard-line position and the opposite goal line, and after getting within 13 yards of the end zone the Bulldogs lost the ball on a fumble.
The second Hokes Bluff touchdown came in the second quarter by freshman Darrian Meads.
Soon after, Anniston looked set to make a comeback, as senior Torrian Sizemore scored with five minutes left in the quarter. Hokes Bluff’s Carson Eubanks blocked the extra point, resulting in a 14-6 score.
Meads scored again with 2:43 remaining in the half and again with 47 seconds remaining. The score at the half was 28-6.
Hokes Bluff gained possession of the ball in the first play of the second half when senior Brett Roberts recovered a Bulldog fumble. Meads scored again four minutes into the third quarter.
Anniston gained possession briefly before Hokes Bluff regained the ball, but the rest of the quarter was mostly low-yardage runs by the Bulldogs and resulted in no touchdowns.
Anniston started off the fourth quarter on the Eagles’ 15-yard-line and worked its way up most of the field. The highlight of the quarter was Bulldog senior Marrio Dobbins snaking through the Hokes Bluff forces for a 17-yard gain. In the end, however, the power Anniston showed in the final minutes of the game was not enough to overcome Hokes Bluff’s impressive showing in the first three quarters.
Meads finished with 207 yards on 21 carries. Levi Talliaferro ran nine times for 52 yards, while Zack Allen added 45 yards on 11 attempts.
Landon Johnson was 5 of 7 in passing for 70 yards. Braydon Hill had two receptions for 30 yards.
Fisher Simmons had 11 tackles, followed by Cam Dowdy and Carson Eubanks with nine each and Korey Steifel with eight.
Hokes Bluff travels to Saks High School this week to close out region play.