By Ashley Graves
TANNER — It may not have been easy, but Tanner can mark its first test of adversity for the 2013 season off its list.
With several players in spots they normally don’t start at, it took the defending Class 2A state champions much of the first half to get adjusted, but once they did, there was no looking back as they earned a 42-6 win over R.A. Hubbard Friday night.
"It kind of threw off the continuity a little bit, but once we sat down and regrouped they got better," Tanner coach Laron White said.
The Chiefs were able to capitalize on one of the Rattlers miscues with seconds remaining in the first quarter after recovering a fumble at the Tanner 35. Two plays later R.A. Hubbard quarterback Jimique Jones found the endzone on a 3-yard run. However, the Rattlers managed to maintain the slim lead as the extra point was waved no good.
R.A. Hubbard had another chance to take advantage of a Tanner turnover, recovering another fumble at the Rattler 32 midway through the second, but came away with nothing as they were held to 4-and-out. Tanner answered on the following possession as Jon Jon Fletcher connected with Blake Whitt on a 30-yard pass in the endzone, capping off a 10 play, 94 yard drive. The Fletcher-Whitt duo struck again before the half, connecting once more, this time on a 14-yard touchdown pass set up by an interception.
"We just had to stay patient," White said. "We went through some adversity, but it helps to go through that."
Tanner got two scores from Fletcher in the second half that included a 6-yard run and a 4-yard fumble return. Hayden Stephens added his second touchdown of the night with 11 seconds left in the third on an 8-yard run.
Stephens finished the night with 24 carries for 175 yards and two touchdowns, meanwhile Fletcher was 4-of-5 for 66 yards and two touchdowns.