Brantley Too Much For Hackleburg

Brantley dominated Hackleburg to win the 1A State Championship Friday in Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Quarterback Chase Hall was Mr. Everything for Brantley on Thursday as he ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns and added 120 passing yards and two more scores as the Bulldogs defeated Hackleburg 28-13 to win the 1A Championship.

The first half was a case of costly turnovers for Hackleburg as the Panthers played toe-to-toe with Brantley for much of the first quarter until Tory Upshaw intercepted a Ryan Bullock pass and returned it to the Bulldog 46-yard line to put his team in business. Two plays later Hall completed the equivalent of a hail mary to wide receiver Teven Daniels for 52 yards and a touchdown. The extra point missed wide right, but Brantley was on the board and wouldn't look back.

Losing three yards on its next possession, Hackleburg punted to Brantley and the Bulldogs took over on their own 36. Six plays and 64 yards later the advantage was 14 as Hall ran over from two yards out and then added a pass for a two-point conversion. The big play on the drive was a 38-yard run by Devante Porter.

Hackleburg turned the ball over for the third time in the first half on its next possession, but the defense held and forced a bunt by the Bulldogs. The two teams traded punts after that until Brantley finally broke through once again to build a three score lead. Taking over on their own 30 with just over three minutes left in the first half, the Bulldogs pounded out 70 yards in just six plays to build a 20-0 lead heading into the break.

The big play came with time running out in the first half and Brantley hoping to catch Hackleburg napping. Facing a third and six from his own 45 and just over 30 seconds left in the half, Hall launched a pass deep down the right sidelines in the direction of Upshaw. Playing the ball perfectly, Upshaw caught it in stride and raced 55 yards for the score with just 23 seconds left in the half.

Trailing 20-0, it took almost the entire third quarter for Hackleburg to get on the scoreboard, but when they did it was emphatic. The only offense for the Panthers in the first half with 41 yards rushing, speedy Joel Ingle returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown with just 16 seconds left to make it 20-7 Brantley.

Apparently it served as a wake-up call for the Bulldogs as Hall took the ball right up the middle and scampered 61 yards for a touchdown to get the points right back for Brantley. He then hit Upshaw for a two-point conversion to make it 28-7. That's how things were as the teams went to the fourth quarter.

Hackleburg made one final push in this title game as they drove 89 yards on eight plays in just over two minutes to cut the lead down to 28-13. The scoring play came on a 31-yard strike from Bullock to wide receiver Trevor Holland. An onside kick was recovered by the Bulldogs and they were able to salt away the victory with a punishing running game.

For the game Brantley ran for 241 yards on 41 carries while holding Hackleburg to just 40 yards on the ground. Ingle was the bright spot for Hackleburg as he ran for 55 yards, caught a pass for nine yards, added 84 yards on punt returns and 38 on kickoff returns for 186 all-purpose yards.

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