For The News Courier
Tanner continued its dominance this season, rushing for 350 yards, leading to a 69-13 victory over Colbert Heights. In front of a packed homecoming crowd at Rip Swanner Field, running back Hayden Stephens displayed his athletic skill set of speed, jukes and field vision. The junior finished with 165 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries.
“It’s so great to see all the hard work we’ve put in pay off,” said Stephens. “With each practice and each game, we’re trying to prepare ourselves for a playoff run.”
It took only moments for the No. 1 ranked 2A team in the state to light up the scoreboard. After a failed onside kick by Colbert Heights, Stephens dashed 31 yards around his left tackle for the game’s first touchdown. On his next carry, Stephens went untouched right up the gut for a 27 yard score. Following a quick three-and-out, Tanner’s Greg Maclin gave his team’s offense great field position with a 36-yard punt return. His efforts were rewarded on the ensuing play with a 16 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jonathan Fletcher. Just before the end of the first quarter, Stephens found paydirt once again with a 24 yard scamper down the left sideline.
Forcing another quick three-and-out, Fletcher hooked up with Maclin on a quick slant route that went the distance for a 48-yard score. Two plays later and Maclin caught another touchdown pass, this time from Colbert Heights’ quarterback Cole Claunch. On the very next possession, Rattler linebacker Dexter Douglas recovered a Wildcat fumble. Tanner running back Frederick Rich led the Rattlers down the field, punching in another score. Just before halftime, Ronald Taylor’s late rushing touchdown sent the Rattlers to the locker room with a 56-0 lead.
Early in the third quarter, Stephens capped off his fourth and most impressive touchdown of the night, making several jukes on his way to 38-yard score. Tanner head football coach Laron White then sent in his underclassmen to play out the rest of the second half. Freshman running back, Tiquavelous Mayberry showed his running ability, throwing off defenders for a 25 yard touchdown run.
Tanner’s defense dominated once again this week, forcing three turnovers and three sacks. Assistant coach Bobby Greene’s defense also held the Wildcats to zero rushing yards. Fletcher looked sharp airing out the ball, connecting on 6-of-7 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Rich gain 88 yards and one touchdown on nine tries. Maclin caught three passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned an interception 25 yards for a score. Colbert Heights’ Claunch completed 19 of his 35 pass attempts for 184 yards and one touchdown. He also scored on a two-yard rush. Tanner (6-0, 4-0) will travel to Sheffied next Friday for another Region 8 matchup.