The Murfreesboro Rattlers fell to 0-3 on the season after a 46-12 loss to Hampton.
The Rattlers found themselves quickly in a hole against the team – that participated in last year’s state championship game – by fumbling a punt on their first drive. Hampton would score on the next play as well as add a two-point conversion to move ahead 8-0.
Murfreesboro would show their mettle, methodically driving into Bulldog territory before succumbing to a turnover on downs after a fourth-down fumble left them at the 30 yard line.
On the ensuing play, the Rattlers recovered a Hampton fumble to give them another chance to even the score. Four plays later, the Rattlers found themselves again failing to gain a first down.
After forcing a punt on a three-and-out series that spanned into the second quarter, Murfreesboro struck gold on a 67-yard TD pass from quarterback J.C. Motley to Bryle Fatheree who found a crease in the Hampton defense left unguarded. The PAT kick attempt failed with an errant snap, leaving the score at 8-6.
Hampton would storm back, scoring four touchdowns on its next four possessions before half, setting the score at 38-6 at the break.
The Bulldogs opened the third quarter with a 10-play drive for a touchdown that put the game into running-clock mode, greatly hastening the second half speed.
The Rattlers refused to quit, however, driving for their second score on the ensuing drive, culminating with a 4-yard-rush by Tyler Tomlinson. The Rattlers again tried a PAT kick attempt that was short circuited by another bad snap, placing the score at 46-12.
Both teams had a single possession in the fourth quarter. Murfreesboro forced a turnover on downs and then drove for another scoring attempt that fell short inside the Bulldog’s 10-yard-line as time expired.
The Rattlers utilized a team effort to rush for 134 yards on the game, featuring Motley 19, Tomlinson 26, Payten Diffee 27, Braden Cross 19, Michael Hughes 15 and Fatheree 20.
Motley was 5/8 passing on the game for 117 yards and a TD, while WR Jakob Allmon had three receptions in four targets for 44 yards.
Hampton would rush for 274 yards on the game, led by Elian Martinez who accounted for 141 yards on 13 rushes with three TDs and a pair of two-point conversions.
Bulldog QB Browning Welch had an efficient game, rushing for 16 yards on three attempts with a TD as well as completing 3/4 passes for 70 yards and a score to receiver Dante Raney.
Zane Flaherty would lead the Rattler defensive effort with seven tackles, while Fatheree added four and Hughes, Evan Pickett, Samuel Corson and Leshad Jones each tallied three. Justin Jarrell and Jarrett Faulkner recorded the team’s two tackles for loss.
The Rattlers will next travel to Lafayette County this Friday to open the conference season.
The Cougars are also winless (0-3) on the season, falling 21-20 to Gurdon to open the season, followed by a 41-27 loss to Genoa Central and a 49-30 defeat last Friday at the hands of Parker’s Chapel.