Nashville blew the game against the Carterville Lions wide open thanks to stellar defense and an explosive third quarter.
Nashville remained vigilant and dominant throughout the contest to win 49-13 at Hornet Field. The victory secures the Hornets to at least share the Southern Illinois River to River Mississippi conference title.
The Hornets showed strength early, jumping off to a 14-0 lead thanks to a touchdown from senior Connor Gladson and a 52-yard pass to Ben Reid to close the first quarter.
Carterville would answer with a big play of its own to make it 14-7 at halftime.
The monster scoring in the third included 28 unanswered points, powered by three touchdowns within two minutes of play.
Hornets Head Coach Stephen Kozuszek gave credit to the big breaks in the second half as well as the overall performance of the defense.
“I was proud of our defense,” Kozuszek told WNSV. “I thought we did a great job of handling them upfront and limiting what they could do in the run game.”
Kozuszek said although the Nashville offense was sluggish and the team was plagued by penalties in the first half especially, the adjustments at halftime turned out to be just the ticket they needed.
“What an awesome quarter of football that third quarter turned out to be,” he said. “It took forever but man we really came at them and exploded on them. And put the game away.”
Kolten Gajewski was 8 for 13 for 233 yards with three passing touchdowns. He also had a nine rushing and a touchdown.
Connor Gladson had 14 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Isaac Turner had two carries for 33 yards and a touchdown along with six catches and 136 yards with two more scores. Ben Reid added two more catches and a touchdown.e
Nashville (5-1, 2-0) is at home next week against Pinckneyville for the Homecoming game.
Photos by Leah Williams and Matthias Wright