Hornets lose third-straight in heartbreaker

The Chelsea Hornets dropped a heartbreaker at the hands of the Pell City Panthers Oct. 17. (Contributed/Cari Dean)

The Chelsea Hornets dropped a heartbreaker at the hands of the Pell City Panthers Oct. 17. (Contributed/Cari Dean)

By JAY BEARD/For the Reporter

PELL CITY — Under the lights of Pete Rich stadium, the Chelsea Hornets received their third loss of the season, 35-33, to region foe, Pell City on Oct. 17.

Coming into the game, the Hornets were 5-2 after losing two in a row to region foes Opelika and Benjamin Russell, while their opponents were 5-3 and in a must-win situation to secure a chance at their first playoff berth since 2012.

In the first quarter, both teams struggled to get things going until Pell City’s Hudson Hughes threw a 70-yard touchdown with 3:48 left in the first.

Trying to put the game away in style, Pell City’s Hudson Hughes, Devon Mitchell and Chris Lynch performed an 80-yard hook and lateral to make the score 14-0 with 2:09 left in the first.

With 11:48 left in the second quarter, the Panthers appeared to have the game in the bag with a 21-0 lead, but the Hornets stung the Panthers when quarterback Matt Marquet completed a 77-yard pass to Tyler Blackburn just 21 seconds later.

On the kickoff, the Panthers returned the ball to the Hornet eight-yard line, making it an easy six for a speedy Chris Lynch. The Hornets then scored 20 unanswered points, bringing the score 28-27 with 10 seconds left in the half.

In the second half, the Panthers were able to get on the board first; but a couple of injuries and a stout Panther defense kept the Hornets out of the end zone until Chase Wilson snuck it in from five yards out to make the score 35-33 with 5:09 left in the game.

Chelsea started to put together a drive with only 2:28 left in the game, but the Panther defense got to Josh Gregg, forcing a fumble with 1:00 left.

For coach Elmore, the loss was a difficult one.

“I just got outcoached all game,” he said. “It’s completely on me. Our kids did a great job battling back, playing though some injuries. Our coaches and our kids kept playing. I just did a poor job all night.”

The Chelsea Hornets will try to snap a three game losing streak and secure a chance to have a spot in the playoffs, on Oct. 24when they face Oxford.