SPRING HILL — The Murfreesboro Rattlers were able to use a strong running game to accrue 246 yards against the Spring Hill Bears last Friday night to keep the game close before ultimately losing 24-14.
Bryle Fatheree led the Rattlers with 132 yards on 19 rushes with a touchdown, while Braden Cross added 116 yards on 17 carries, helping the Rattlers record 311 yards of total offense on 61 plays.
Murfreesboro was able to take an early 8-0 lead by scoring a touchdown in the early second quarter after their first two possessions of the game ended in punts. Cross scored the TD and added the two point conversion.
The Rattler defense was on their game early, forcing two fumbles and a turnover on downs in the Bears first three possessions. Michael Hughes and Cody Nolen recovered the fumbles for Murfreesboro.
However, the Bears were able to take a 16-8 lead into halftime by converting two long drives of 60 and 71 yards to finish the half.
On their first three possessions of the second half Murfreesboro would throw an interception to kill drives deep in Spring Hill territory.
Spring Hill would be able to convert the second of those three turnovers into a touchdown drive of 87 yards in three plays.
Murfreesboro would come back gamely, notching their second score on a 91 yard drive that culminated in a Fatheree TD.
Spring Hill was able to run out the final two minutes of the game to put the game on ice.
Payten Diffee completed 2/10 passes for the Rattlers, including a long of 38 yards to Zayne Flaherty that was instrumental in the late scoring drive. Fatheree would also complete 1/2 passes with a 19 yarder to Nathan Plyler.
The team’s three interceptions were shared across the board, with Diffee, Cross and Fatheree each tallying one.
Cross also made his presence felt in the return game, totaling 59 yards of return on two kickoff chances.
Flaherty lead the Rattler defense with 10 tackles (1 for loss), while Justin Faulkner recorded 6 tackles (2 for loss), Samuel Corson 5, and Faulkner (2 for loss), Fatheree (1 for loss), Hughes and Pickett with four each.
The Rattler defense proved to be salty against the rush, allowing 105 yards total, but gave up 260 yards through the air, including two long TD passes of 96 and 71 yards.
Jarrett Faulkner has two solid punts for the Rattlers, notching a 34.5 yard average.
Payton Massanelli was all over the field for Spring Hill, completing 7/14 passes for 189 yards, including a 96 yard TD to Lewis Chambers in the second quarter. Massanelli also caught a pass for 71 yards and a TD from Parker Freeman, while rushing 10 times for 34 yards and a TD, scored a two point conversion, recorded a pass interception on defense, and had 2 punts average 50 yards each.
Keymonte Rhodes would rush for 63 yards in the Bears’ interest, including a long of 31 and a 2 point conversion.
The Bears had 265 yards of total offense on 44 plays.
Both teams suffered the detriment of penalties, with the Rattlers collecting 11 for 70 yards and the Bears suffering 12 for 90 yards.
The Rattlers (0-8, 0-5) will again seek their first win of the season against the visiting Foreman Gators (6-1, 4-1) this Friday night at home.
The Gators, whose lone loss on the season came two weeks ago at the hands of the Mount Ida Lions 36-7, rebounded this week to defeat the Mineral Springs Hornets 28-14.
On Thursday night at home, the Murfreesboro junior high squad garnered a victory over Spring Hill 20-8 after taking a 6-0 lead into the half.
Spring Hill was able to break up the shutout attempt by scoring with 21.3 seconds remaining on the clock.