Helena’s comeback effort falls short against Minor

Published 1:12 am Saturday, September 22, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – It was a slow 0-3 start to the season for the Helena Huskies heading into a matchup with Minor on Friday, Sept. 21, but head coach Richie Busby has preached improvement each week that won’t just magically happen overnight.

While the Huskies’ record fell to 0-4 at the end of the night with a 26-19 loss to the Tigers, it was by far their best effort of the season for a team that had scored just 26 points through three games, including just 13 points in the last two games combined.

As many of the games for Helena have started this year, the first quarter saw a low-scoring battle, which benefits the Huskies’ struggling offense.

Helena’s defense actually came up with the only points of the quarter thanks to a safety that put two points on the board in the early going.

Minor, however, still held a 7-2 lead in the first quarter, but late in the frame, Helena was driving looking to take the lead.

Heading into the second quarter in scoring position, the Huskies were unable to capitalize and the next points that were scored actually came from the Tigers just a few minutes later after Helena’s drive had halted.

Minor was able to take a 13-2 lead with five minutes left in the half, and that wasn’t all the Tigers had planned for the first half either.

Just before half, Minor got the ball back for another opportunity and capitalized. Already up 13-2, the Tigers were able to extend their lead to 17 at 19-2 heading into the halftime break thanks to a late touchdown.

The impressive aspect of the game for the Huskies, however, was what happened after they came out of the locker room for the second half.

Through the first three games, this Helena team was playing teams fairly close in the first half, but losing steam in the second half for lopsided losses.

In this matchup, the Huskies showed exactly what Busby has been hoping for all season, improvement.

Helena opened the second half with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and despite missing the extra point, the Huskies had something to build some momentum and energy off of now trailing 19-8.

More impressively, they got the ball back almost immediately and completely swung momentum with their second touchdown within the first three minutes of the third quarter starting when they added another touchdown as well as a 2-point conversion to make the score 19-16.

Needing one more stop, however, to get a crack at trying to take the lead, Helena failed to stop the Tigers, who went on to answer with a touchdown with 5:28 left in the third quarter to go back up by 10 at 26-16.

The game went back to that early defensive battle over the next 10 minutes of game time, before Helena got the next chance with 3:34 left. The Huskies were forced to settle for a field goal, but cut the lead to seven points.

Helena was unable to get the ball back to make a game-tying play, but the Huskies had shown what can happen when they believe and get some momentum.

Up next for the Huskies is an average 5A Southside Gadsden team before they end a three-game road trip with a matchup against the Chelsea Hornets on Thursday Oct. 5.