Hornets fire on all cylinders in shutout over Redbirds

Nashville stepped on the gas early and never let up, blanking the West Frankfort Redbirds 54-0 in the final game of the regular season. 

The Hornets recovered a kickoff fumble and returned it a few possessions later with a 24-yard pass from quarterback Kolten Gajewski to Isaac Turner.

Nashville was not done with its first quarter domination. A whopping 73-yard pass to Ben Rein to take a 14-0 lead with 6:53 left to play. Other scores included a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mike Combs and a 12-yard run by Ian Blazier.

It was a good night once again for the Hornet offense and defense. The second quarter included another TD run by Blazier at 10:18. Raydn Schwartzkopf would pick up an interception at 8:17, a play that was later returned to the end zone after a 27-yard touchdown pass to Turner. The Hornets would score once more before the half after a 4-yard run from Connor Gladson.

Gajewski completed 5 for 8 with 165 yards and had 20 yards rushing. Backup quarterback JT Malawy added 3 for 5 for an additional 29 yards. Turner had 77 passing yards while Reid had 73 and Gladson added 15. 

Other ground game stats included Blazier with three carries for 25 yards and Turner with two carries for 18 yards. In the fourth quarter Kaden Gajewski carried the ball 10 times for 18 yards, including a 5-yard trip to the end zone to solidify the 54-0 victory.

Nashville improves to 8-1 on the year. The team now awaits postseason assignments. Head Coach Stephen Kozuszek told WNSV that depending on the results of a few swing games, the Hornets could be headed to either the 2A or 3A tournament.

Looking back on the year, Kozuszek said he told his team he was proud of how they had performed. He added that he he is hoping to stay healthy and get ready to make a deep run in the playoffs.

“We just kept building and building and kept growing stronger as a team,” he said. “I just wanted to keep putting on the accelerator. And we obviously did that tonight. We jumped on them early and executed well on both sides of the ball. It was a good cap to the season.”

Regular season at a glance:

Johnston City, W  31-6

Freeburg, L  26-21

Wesclin, W 42-8

Anna-Jonesboro, W 47-22

Marquette-Alton, W 54-0

Carterville W 49-13

Pinckneyville, W 71-0

DuQuoin, W 37-14

West Frankfort, W 54-0

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