HATLEY • Nettleton’s defense stood tall in the fourth quarter.
With Hatley threatening in the final two minutes, Marcus Thomas had a key stop in the backfield, and Dedrick Johnson came up with an interception to seal the 14-10 win.
“They were tough, but we had to keep pushing through it,” said Thomas, who leads Nettleton in tackles. “You have to keep going, even when you’re tired.”
Nettleton scored on the opening drive as Jamonte Guines scampered in from 6 yards out to make it 7-0.
The defensive battle started from there with neither team scoring again until midway through the second quarter.
Nick Washington and Markhel Hunt had big runs for Hatley on its drive that started at the beginning of the second quarter, but the Tigers had to settle for a 36-yard Luke Moffett field goal.
Nettleton extended its lead to 14-3 with 31 seconds left in the second on Graham Gardner’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Johnson. Hatley was flagged with a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the drive.
Hatley cut it to a one-score game on its opening possession of the third quarter, on an 80-yard drive that ended with Washington’s 10-yard touchdown run.
Hatley’s defense held Nettleton to a three-and-out, but Micah Carrisoza recovered a fumble just three plays later for another big stop on defense.
Hatley got well into Nettleton territory and converted a big fourth down, but the visitors made the stop in the end as Johnson snagged his interception with just a little over a minute to go.
“Our offense did well in the first half,” Johnson said. “On defense, I thought we played hard and made that last stop to end the game.”
Turning Point: Nettleton’s stop on the final drive, capped off by Johnson’s pick.
Point Man: Gardner was 12 of 18 passing for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Talking Point: “We asked our defense to make plays, and our big guys, our leaders of the team, we were able to count on them tonight.” – Nettleton coach Ken Topps
• Washington rushed for 211 yards on 27 carries, putting him just over 700 yards on the season.
• Nettleton returns home to face Baldwyn, while Hatley travels to Biggersville next week.