After a slow start for both teams, the Hillcrest Patriots (8-1, 5-1) kicked it into gear offensively in the second half against the Bessemer City Purple Tigers (1-7, 1-4) beating them 33-8. 

For Bessemer City offensively, the Purple Tigers could barely get any momentum going as the Hillcrest defense smothered them from start to finish. Bessemer City didn’t total over 200 yards by the end of the game, and three total interceptions certainly didn’t help their efforts

Hillcrest sophomore quarterback Ethan Crawford  started the game off rough as well, throwing two interceptions in the first half. Crawford would shake off the early miscues and lead the second half charge for the Patriots, finishing with three total touchdowns. 

“I think maybe what caused some of the frustrations early on was him trying to press and make too many big plays,” Hillcrest Head Coach Sam Adams said. “He’s still growing and learning, but he’s still one of the best in the state. I have no doubt he will play even better next week.” 

The game started explosively, with Crawford hitting wide receiver Andre Siler on a 69-yard touchdown pass midway through the first quarter. After that however, the Purple Tigers’ defense tightened up, and several Hillcrest penalties would make the Patriots yield three total points on the next three trips into Bessemer City territory. Add in the two Crawford interceptions, and it was only a 10-0 game headed in to the half between two teams with vastly different records. 

Whatever offensive adjustments Hillcrest made at halftime worked, and the Patriots wasted no time opening up the third quarter with an Anthony Myers 12-yard touchdown run. Another quick stop and the Patriots got the ball back again, where they earned another touchdown on a 1-yard Ethan Crawford keeper. 

With Bessemer City’s backed up to the 1-yard line on the next drive, Hillcrest managed to drop running back Cederian Moore for a -3 yard loss, securing a two point safety. One play later Crawford connected with wide receiver Terrance Galloway on an 11-yard strike to score a total of 11 points for Hillcrest in only 13 seconds of game time.

With the score 33-0, Hillcrest took Crawford out and ran down the clock with the second team offense and defense. Bessemer City managed to find the endzone on a Martez Johnson 38-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left, but it was all but over at that point. With zeroes on the clock, 33-8 was the final from Hillcrest. 

Hillcrest now prepares to host the undefeated Demopolis Tigers (9-0, 6-0) in a massive non-region game. 

“It’s kind of an old rivalry,” Adams said.”They are a really good team. We aren’t gonna fall into the trap and think because they are 5A they can’t compete with us, they are good enough to beat anybody in the state.”

Bessemer City closes its season with a non-region game at Jasper. 

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