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T.L. Hanna overpowers Emerald in 40-7 season-opening victory

Brady Cox | T.L. Hanna Contributor

Any questions that were surrounding the T.L. Hanna Yellow Jackets entering the 2019 season were answered in their 40-7 victory over Emerald on Friday night.

With a balance of ball control offense and a dominant defensive performance, the Yellow Jackets dismantled the Vikings. Head Coach Jason Tone was pleased with his team’s efforts. “I’m just really excited for them, they have worked hard and it paid off,” Tone said.

The Yellow Jacket defensive unit set the tone at the beginning of the game, while the offensive unit shined in the second half. “The defense played really well, any time you play an option team you have to focus on your responsibilities all night, and the defense played hard all game,” Tone said.

After the defense forced a three-and-out on Emerald’s opening possession, the Yellow Jacket offense marched down the field. However, a series of holding penalties limited the Yellow Jackets to a 46-yard field goal by junior kicker Jay Billingsle.

In the second quarter, senior wing back Ja’Nike Truesdale scored on a 12-yard touchdown run after another long T.L. Hanna possession. Later in the second quarter, Emerald fumbled on their own one yard line, and the Yellow Jackets recovered. Junior J.J. Hudson scored on the next play. T.L. Hanna’s next possession resulted in yet another touchdown, this time it was senior Erick Lopez scoring on a 32-yard run to give the Yellow Jackets a 24-0 lead heading into halftime.

Senior punter Juan Velarde pinned the Vikings at their own one-yard line with a masterful punt early in the third quarter. Junior Ryan Wynn and senior Jaylin Thomas then combined for a safety, swarming an Emerald ball carrier in his own endzone for a safety. 

After the Yellow Jackets got the ball back, they marched down the field for an 11-yard touchdown scamper by J.J. Hudson. “I knew I had to score when I got the ball, and I saw open field in front of me, so it was easy,” Hudson said.

The Vikings finally crossed midfield for the first time early in the fourth quarter.  Quarterback Zachoyeis Elmore then connected with wide receiver Quintrell Robinson on a 23-yard pass for Emerald’s lone score of the night. The Yellow Jackets then proceeded to milk the clock with another long possession that ultimately led to a 3-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jaylon Thompson.

At the end of the game, Hudson had a lot to say about the atmosphere of the first game. “It was just great to be back in the atmosphere of T.L. Hanna, the excitement was great.”

T.L. Hanna improved to 1-0 with the victory, while Emerald fell to 1-1 on the season. T.L. Hanna now turns their focus to Inlet Grove.

Game Summary

T.L. Hanna 3 21 9 7-40

Emerald     0 0 0 7-7

First Quarter

TL-Jay Billingsley 46-yd kick 

Second Quarter

TL-Ja’Nike Truesdale 12-yd run (Billingsley kick)

TL-J.J. Hudson 1-yd run (Billingsley kick)

TL-Erick Lopez 32-yd run (Billingsley kick)

Third Quarter


TL-J.J. Hudson 11-yd run (Billingsley kick)

Fourth Quarter

E-Elmore from Robinson 23-yd pass

TL-Jaylon Thompson 3-yd run (Roberts kick)

T.L. Hanna Individual Stats

Rushing- Erick Lopez 3-50, J.J. Hudson 7-39, Jackson Pusey 5-34, D.J. Brownlee 2-19, Jaylon Thompson 3-17, Shy’Heem Clemons 2-8, Preston Pettway 2-2 

Passing- Noah Hamby 1-2-0-9, Carson Bachelor 1-3-0-7

Receiving- J.J. Hudson 1-9, Jackson Pusey 1-7

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