Titans hunt down Wildcats in Sectional opener; Hart wins 100th game

Carson Brindle, Sports Reporter

The Gibson Southern football team took on the Wildcats of Mt. Vernon for their second matchup of the season on Friday, October 22, in the first round of sectional 32. With a 49-16 win, the Titans moved on to the second round next week.

The Wildcats controlled much of the tempo in the first quarter, starting off the first drive with a fourth and goal stop against the Titans. They followed with a six-minute offensive possession with no score, but they set the pace of the game early. The Titans were the first to break the scoring tally with a 40-yard pass to senior Adrean Lukeman with 8:59 to go in the first quarter.

The Wildcats again would have a multi-minute possession that led to a 36-yard field goal from Brady Hook with 2:50 left in the first.

“They had long drives in the first quarter that took a lot of time off the clock,” head coach Nick Hart said. “That was the biggest difference from our first matchup. They did a much better job at playing their style of football, and it took us some time to adjust.” 

Senior quarterback Brady Allen threw for another touchdown in the first with a 20-yard pass to senior Brayden Malone who was set up by a big gain off a screen pass to senior receiver Rory Heltsley, putting the score at 14-3. 

Allen brought in his third touchdown of the night using his feet with a 7-yard touchdown with 9:13 to go in the second quarter, making the score 21-3 in favor of the Titans. The Wildcats put pressure back on the Titan defense with multiple big runs from Hook but failed to score on fourth down in the red zone. Malone went on to have a 78-yard gain leading to a Sean Delong run to make the score 28-3 with 4:10 left in the second. 

The Titans forced a punt on Mt. Vernon’s next offensive possession but fumbled the punt return, giving the ball right back to the Wildcats. Senior defensive back Noah Bryant came up big, however, for the Titans with an interception to give the ball back to Allen around midfield. The Titans continued to have sloppy play in the second with a high snap and turnover, leading to quarterback Nico Burnett finding River Snodgrass for a five-yard touchdown with 15 seconds to go in the second. The Wildcats’ extra point attempt was no good making the score 28-9 going into the half. 

“We knew that they had some momentum going into the half,” Bryant said. “We had some sloppy mistakes that we usually don’t have and they took advantage. The main focus of halftime was turning it back into our style of game and bringing the energy to them.”

The Titans would do just that. At the 7:51 mark in the third quarter, Allen found senior Kaden Hurless for his third passing touchdown of the night, putting the score at 35-9. Bryant snagged his second interception of the night to close the third quarter. In the Titans’ first possession of the fourth quarter, Lukeman broke away for a 58-yard rushing score to put the Titans up 42-9. The Titans scored once more in this matchup with a 55-yard touchdown to Heltsley with 8:27 to go. The final score of the game came from Hook to put the final score at 49-16. 

This victory marked Nick Hart’s 100th career victory, and sets the Titans up for a Sectional semifinal matchup against Salem. Hart’s current career record is 100-20. 

“The Sectional win was a lot more important than the 100,” Hart said. “I’m excited we get to play another week, and I am glad I get to continue to help these kids win.”

 Despite the one-sided win to start the state tournament, Hart’s team is still critiquing its play and making adjustments to be even tighter on the field.

“We are looking to improve our intensity at the start of the game,” senior linebacker Levi Dickerson said. “We did very well in the second half of bringing it, but in the first half we were kind of slow. I also think we could do better with execution as well, including myself.”

The Titans advanced to the Class 3A sectional 32 semifinals against 6-2 Salem High School at the Jewell on Friday, October 29, at 6:30 CST. 


Gibson Southern 49

Mt Vernon 16



B. Allen: 15/17- 385 yards- 4TD (Rush TD)



A.Lukeman: 2-58- TD

S.DeLong: 9-52- TD



R.Heltsley: 4-153- TD

B.Malone: 3-129- TD

A.Lukeman: 1-40- TD

K.Hurless: 2-28- TD



N.Bryant: 2 INT