Jullian Metcalf runs through the Panther defense during the Hornets 34-7 win over Pinckneyville.
By Brent Huelsmann
The Nashville Hornets picked up their third win of the season this past Friday night in impressive fashion as they disposed of the rival Pinckneyville Panthers 34-7 in the annual Homecoming Game. The Hornets moved their record to 3-4 on the season, and must win their final two games of the regular season, just to become playoff eligible. The Hornets are at DuQuoin this Friday night, before finishing the season at home with a game against West Frankfort on October 20.
After forcing PInckneyville to punt on the first drive of the game, the Hornets got the scoring started as Jullian Metcalf capped off a 54 yard drive with a five yard touchdown to give Nashville an early lead. The big play of the drive came on fourth and ten, when Cameron Parker found Metcalf for a 22 yard gain to keep the drive alive. Colin Laws extra point after the touchdown gave Nashville a 7-0 lead.
After a missed field goal by the Panthers, Nashville got the ball back again. The Hornets quickly took advantage as six plays later they were in the endzone as Parker scored from seven yards out to extend Nashville’s lead to 13-0.
The score would hold steady through the end of the first quarter, and most of the second quarter. After drives by both teams stalled out, the Hornets were able to again extend their lead as Parker found Tanner Bergmann for a 18 yard touchdown with just 2:13 remaining before halftime. Laws again added an extra point to give the Hornets a 20-0 lead at the halftime break.
After an extended halftime, due to the homecoming festivities, in which Paige Kasten was named Homecoming Queen, the Senior Class won the annual float decorating contest, and Caleb Zgonina and Brooke Burcham were announced as the winners of Mr. and Mrs. Legs, the teams were ready to get back to football.
Nashville got the ball to start the second half, and again were able to extend their lead. Nashville used 14 plays, including one fourth down conversion. The drive was capped off when Metcalf found the endzone again on a five yard carry. Laws would convert his third extra point of the game, and the Hornets held a commanding 27-0 lead.
As the game turned to the fourth quarter, the Hornets scored for the final time after taking advantage of a Pinckneyville turnover. Jakob Jones picked off a pass, to set the Hornets offense up near midfield. The Panthers got a steady diet of Metcalf on the Hornets next drive as Metcalf carried the ball seven times in nine plays including the final play of the drive when Metcalf scored from one yard out. Laws extra point gave the Hornets a 34-0 lead.
Pinckneyville would score their only touchdown of the game, when Ryan Brueggeman scored from 62 yards out. The Panthers would add the extra point, but still trailed 34-7, which would be the final as Nashville was able to run out the clock and grab the victory.
After the game, Parker talked about getting the first home win of the season. “It’s pretty big considering we don’t have many wins this season, but to come out here in front of our home crowd and to get the first win at home this season is pretty special.”
The Hornets rushed for 276 yards in the win, and were led by Metcalf who finished with 173 yards and three touchdowns. After the game Coach Steven Kozuszek talked about Metcalf. “I thought he ran really hard. That’s probably the hardest I’ve seen him run all year. For his size, at times it looked like he was carrying a couple kids, and his pad level was really good, keeping it low and gaining yards after contact.”
Parker added 65 yards on the ground and a touchdown, while Jackson Aulds finished with 30 yards on six carries. Tabor Kozuszek finished with six yards on two carries.
Through the air, Parker finished with 189 yards and a touchdown. Most of the damage came from Kozuszek, who finished with 90 yards receiving on five catches. Dalton Novak caught four passes for 42 yards. Bergmann caught two passes, one of which was a touchdown and finished with 20 yards receiving. Metcalf finished with 22 yards on one catch.