Reeltown — Reeltown High School scrapped its way to a Region championship and home field advantage in the AHSAA state playoffs this season but met their match last night against No. 1 Tanner High School, falling 35-14 at home in Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium.
Tanner tailback Hayden Stephens had four touchdowns in the Rattler victory.
The loss ends the No. 3 Rebels season at 12-2 in the state semifinals.
Both teams got a feel for eachother early on in the contest and Ariko Stewart made the first big play for Reeltown when he intercepted a Tanner pass on the one-yard line to halt their opening drive.
Ariko Stewart then contributed offensively with a long run to Reeltowns one 20-yard line, but the drive would stall three plays later.
With the ball on the Reeltown 31 yard line, the Rattlers ran for a first down in three plays then struck with their first touchdown of the game when Hayden Stephens dashed for 19 yards and a 7-0 lead.
Fred Rich then intercepted a pass from Reeltown quarterback Cody Spivey to end the ensuing Rebel drive at the beginning of the second quarter.
Stephens then struck again two plays later with a 51 yard touchdown run for a 14-0 Tanner lead with 10:20 left in the half.
In what was Reeltown’s lone points of the first half, Spivey connected with Michael Hall-Long on a 24 yard pass on the ensuing drive and senior runningback Tywone Stewart took the next play 31 yards to the house to cut the lead to 14-7.
Everytime Tanner needed to churn yards out on the ground, they went back to Stephens and the tailback responded on the next drive with a first down run, followed by two first down runs by Rich and a 21 yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Fletcher to Greg Maclin to take the Rattler advantage to 21-7 with just under six minutes remaining in the half.