HENDERSONVILLE — With a share of first place in Region 6-5A at stake, Beech and Gallatin had to keep their mistakes to a minimum.
Gallatin was unable to do that, committing four first-half turnovers leading to 21 Buccaneer points as Beech routed the visiting Green Wave 45-7 on Friday evening at Shackle Island Stadium.
Beech senior wide receiver Ian Hafner touched the ball five times and scored on four of them, with three receptions for 106 yards and three scores, plus a 26-yard touchdown run.
“I just did whatever I could to help my team,” Hafner said. “(Sophomore quarterback Nelson Smith) knows how fast I am and just how high I can jump, and he can put it in a place where only I can get it.”
Beech senior tailback Rodrick Napper rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in a game that saw a steady light rain falling throughout the first half.
Beech (5-2, 3-1 6-5A) led 28-7 at halftime, and the Buccaneers’ effort spoiled Gallatin junior tailback Jordan Mason’s night. Mason — who has interest from Florida State and Vanderbilt — rushed for 169 yards on 20 carries.
But the turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions — put Gallatin (4-3, 2-2) in a hole they were unable to dig out of, with a running clock throughout much of the second half.
“We can’t have those turnovers,” Gallatin head coach Mark Williams said. “We’ve shown when we have turnovers, we don’t do too well. We’ve got to value the football a lot more and protect it. I think it’s all about concentration and doing the little things right.”
Gallatin travels to Hendersonville next week, while Beech hosts Station Camp.