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Pinson Valley begins 2014 at Hartselle

By Gary Lloyd

PINSON — This matchup has become a recent rivalry.

Pinson Valley and Hartselle have faced each other three times in recent years, all Class 5A playoff games. In 2010, Hartselle beat Pinson Valley 35-27 in the first round. The Indians trailed 35-7 before a furious fourth-quarter comeback fell short. In 2011, No. 2 Hartselle continued its undefeated season and eventually won a Class 5A state championship after beating Pinson Valley 22-21 on a field goal with four seconds left in the game. Last season, Pinson Valley booted an 18-yard field goal in overtime to beat Hartselle 23-20 to head to the second round.

Pinson Valley sophomore kicker Saul Rios practices this summer. He was the hero of last season’s 23-20 overtime win over Hartselle in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
photo by Ron Burkett

The teams face off Friday at 7 p.m. at Hartselle to kick off the 2014 season.

In last season’s game, the combination of Masio Stover and D’Andre Mack accounted for 160 rushing yards for Hartselle. Neither return this season. Quarterback Jake Tiffin, who finished 4-of-12 for 89 yards and two touchdowns against Pinson Valley last season, is back. He was intercepted twice in that game by Juray Smith. He completed just one pass in the second half and overtime.

Much of Pinson Valley’s skill players return this season. The biggest replacement on that side of the ball is at the quarterback position, where junior Errius Collins takes over for Brooks Garrett. Head coach Matt Glover said over the summer that he likes what’s happening on the offensive side of the ball. Senior running back Nick Gibson said this year’s offense will be “10 times better” than last season’s.

Being the first game, expect some nerves and miscues from both teams offensively, but the continuity Pinson Valley already has offensively should help it in the season opener.

Contact Gary Lloyd at news@trussvilletribune.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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