The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

September 14, 2013

Tanner cruises in home opener

Central denies West’s bid for region win

— Tanner had little trouble dispatching an overmatched Cherokee team 49-17 in its home opener Friday night. Three first-quarter touchdowns put the game out of reach as the Rattlers racked up 331 rushing yards.

Hayden Stephens led the way with 232 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Stephens averaged 15 yards per carry, scoring on touchdown runs of 64, 5, 3 and 7 yards.

The senior’s longest run opened the scoring for Tanner midway through the first half of homecoming at Rip Swanner Field.

Deshun Freeman doubled the lead on a 39-yard punt return TD, followed by another Stephens run. JonJon Fletcher connected with Ronald Taylor from five yards out in the second quarter to give Tanner a 28-0 halftime lead.

Fletcher finished with 90 yards and a score, while Blake Whitt led the Rattlers with three receptions for 86 yards.

Cherokee did not get on the board until late in the fourth quarter with Tanner’s reserves in the game.

Tanner (2-1, 2-0) travels to Lexington next week for another Class 2A, Region 8 game.

Central 27, West Limestone 2

West Limestone’s only points came from a ball kicked out of the Central end zone as the Wildcats dropped a Class 4A, Region 8 game.

Central led 6-0 at halftime, but a pair of second-quarter touchdowns essentially put the game out of reach for West.

West rushed for 221 yards on 37 carries, but could not find the end zone. Dillon Miller led the rushing attack for West Limestone with 162 yards on 23 carries. Tucker McCormick had 11 tackles, while Matthew Reyer and Matthew Sanders each recorded seven tackles and a sack.

West Limestone (1-2, 0-2) travels to East Lawrence next week.