NASHVILLE Gallatin controlled its own destiny heading into Friday’s game at Hillsboro, but the end result altered the Green Wave’s postseason outlook considerably.
Hillsboro handed Gallatin a 21-17 loss to knock the Green Wave out of region title contention, and Gallatin (6-3 overall, 4-3 Region 6-5A) needs either a win or a Hendersonville loss next week to reach the Class 5A playoffs.
Six things from the Green Wave’s loss:
Senior tailback Jordan Mason reached the 2,000-yard mark in Friday’s game, but his 131-yard performance was his lowest output of the season.
“He ran his butt off,” Gallatin head coach Mark Williams said. “He did a great job tonight. (Hillsboro) just did a great job of filling holes tonight on him.”
Mason had three carries that went for more than 10 yards, with two of those resulting in touchdowns (of 12 and 57 yards). Other than that, the Burros (5-4, 4-2) honed in on Mason, daring the Green Wave to beat them another way.
“He got hit a lot,” Hillsboro head coach Craig Clayton said. “I was impressed with him, because he got shellacked pretty good, but he never quit.”
Special teams spark
Senior Dezmond Chambers blocked a Hillsboro punt early in the second quarter and Gatkek Kueth recovered to set up Mason’s first touchdown run.
After an opening quarter that saw the Green Wave do little on the offensive side, the blocked kick provided a major lift.
“Special teams did great,” Williams said. “We knew that it was going to have to be a positive for us tonight, and it was.”
Yellow flag fever
Hillsboro was flagged 12 times for 85 yards, considerably slowing the pace of the game.
“We’re just a very undisciplined team right now,” Clayton said. “We probably had nine or 10 holding calls. We made a lot of mistakes, but we played hard all night. I thought Gallatin played extremely hard. It was a good football game if you didn’t care who won.”
Pick-six proves costly
Gallatin had just turned Hillsboro away after a missed field goal and had a chance to tie the game before halftime, but Collin Minor’s pass found Jon Beets and the Burros’ senior defensive back returned it 50 yards for what turned out to be Hillsboro’s final score.
“I just think the hole that we dug ourselves in the first half was a little too much,” Williams said.
Gallatin could have had a chance to play for the region title with a victory, but the loss allowed Cane Ridge to clinch the Region 6-5A championship.
The Green Wave did not clinch a playoff spot, either, as Hendersonville’s victory over Glencliff kept the Commandos in postseason contention.
Gallatin will clinch a playoff bid with a victory over Cane Ridge next week, or a Hendersonville loss to Hunters Lane. Gallatin can also get in with a win and a Hillsboro loss to Beech.
“We’ve got to do a very good job of preparing for a very good football team,” Williams said. “It’s not going to be an easy job, but we believe in our players and we think we can go out there and give them all they want.”
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