Courtesy of Tom Waddill / The Huntsville Item – ItemOnline.com
LIVINGSTON — The Hornets had one of those weeks everyone would like to forget. On Friday, things went from bad to worse during a lopsided 50-13 loss to Livingston at Lion Stadium.
After learning Tuesday that a serious foot injury had sidelined their starting quarterback for the rest of the season, the Hornets lost two more players Thursday for breaking school rules.
Then Friday, Huntsville (0-3) let its final nondistrict game get out of hand quickly during the second quarter. The Lions (3-0) scored 34 points in that period. Livingston hit one big play after another and turned a tight defensive game into a blowout in the blink of an eye.
“I thought Livingston made some great adjustments. They got some big plays on us, and we allowed them to make those big plays,” Hornets head coach Shane Martin said. “We got our dobbers down a little and they just continued to hit us.”
Four different Lions scored touchdowns during the key stretch of the game, in which Livingston built a 36-7 lead. Quarterback Chevoski Collins raced 44 yards for the Lions’ first touchdown. He threw two TD passes in the next three minutes, first hitting Cassity Land with a 42-yard strike, then lobbing one up to tailback Antonio White from 36 yards out.
After Huntsville’s Henry Ford gave his team a lift with an impressive 41-yard touchdown run, White scored from 20 yards out with 2:55 left in the half. Huntsville lost its third fumble of the first half three plays later, and the Lions pounced on the opportunity.
Livingston found the end zone one more time before the break. Running back Devonte Mays bulled his way over the goal line from 2 yards out with 1:02 left in the second quarter to put Livingston up 36-7.
Things didn’t get any better in the second half. The Lions tacked on another touchdown on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Collins sprinted to his left and found no defenders there waiting for him. A few seconds and 48 yards later, the Lions led 43-7. By the end of the third quarter, Livingston added one more score on a 38-yard run by backup tailback Marquise Thomas.
It was that kind of night for the visitors from Walker County.
Martin said the Hornets could chalk this one up as a complete team defeat. Huntsville’s offense sputtered for most of the evening. The Hornets’ offensive line got blown away by Livingston’s attacking defense.
Huntsville quarterback Kent Albert was too busy trying to escape blitzing linebackers and cornerbacks to get into any kind of rhythm. Three first-half turnovers hurt the Hornets, and defensively, Huntsville gave up way too many big plays.
The Lions scored on plays of 44, 42, 36, 20, 2, 48 and 38 yards. Livingston finished the game with 458 yards of total offense, 380 of which came on the ground.
“A lot of that had to do with us not executing and them putting us in situations where we didn’t have very good field position,” Martin said of Friday’s long laundry list of problem areas. “Fumbling the ball put us in holes, and we couldn’t get out of those holes tonight.
“I wish I had a magic potion that would help us execute better, make us hold onto the football and help us tackle,” the coach said. “But I don’t think that potion exists. If it did, I’d buy a few cases of it and give it a try.”
The Hornets held a Livingston team that was still throwing the ball midway through the fourth period scoreless over the final 12 minutes. And with 4:35 to go in the game, Albert dove over the goal line from a yard out to cap an eight-play, 76 yard drive and make the score a tad bit more respectable.
Ford finished the game with 127 yards on 13 carries, but the Hornets managed only 209 yards of total offense. Albert completed 6-of-12 passes for 32 yards. He rushed 23 times for 22 yards and was sacked seven times.
“Against a quarterback who doesn’t have much experience, teams are going to try to light him up as much as they can,” Martin said. “Livingston did a good job putting pressure on our quarterback all night long.
“There are things in there we’ve got to work on. We’ve just got to keep our heads up and come back Monday and start preparing for Summer Creek.”