Bryson Morgan rushed for 141 yards and three scores in Valley Head’s 34-19 loss to Hackleburg in the first round of the AHSAA Class 1A state playoffs in Valley Head on Friday night.
Morgan scored on a 10-yard run midway through the first quarter, and Noah Hulgan’s extra-point kick gave the Tigers (6-5) a 7-6 lead after Hackleburg (6-6) scores and failed to complete an ensuing 2-point conversion throw.
Ethan Heggy ran for an 80-yard TD with 22 seconds remaining in the opening period to put the Panthers on top for good at 14-7.
The Tigers scored again late in the half when Morgan got loose for a 35-yard scoring run, but Hulgan’s extra-point kick attempt was no good.
Hackleburg’s Caden Jones had touchdown passes of 36 and 60 yards to Joe Carter in the third to extend the lead to 26-13, before Heggy added a 23-yard scoring run to make it 34-13.
Morgan found the end zone for the third time with 1:35 remaining.
Valley Head finished with 282 yards rushing, turned the ball over twice and was penalized only twice for 10 yards.
Hackleburg used a balanced offensive attack to finish with 376 yards of total offense, with no turnovers and five penalties for 45 yards. Jones passed for 181 yards with no interceptions. Heggy ran for 175 yards and Carter added 107 yards receiving.
The Tigers ended their 2019 campaign with their first postseason appearance since 2015, and a second-place finish in Region 7.