LOCUST FORK — Homecoming nights can sometimes be very distracting to young football players, who get easily caught up in all of the festivities and hoopla that surround the week.
For a few moments Friday night at Locust Fork, it seemed that was to be the case as visiting Douglas took advantage of sloppy play by the Hornets. But the hosts recovered in the second quarter, and finished the Eagles off by a 42-22 score.
The first three Hornet possessions resulted in a mishandled punt snap that set up Douglas’ early touchdown, a fumble at the Hornet 46-yard line, and an interception which set up the Eagles at the Hornet 43.
After the early Douglas score, the Locust Fork defense snapped out of their funk and shut down the guests for the remainder of the first half.
The Hornet offense finally got on track late in the first quarter when sophomore halfback Micah Stephens circled around left end from 12 yards away with 1:25 remaining in the opening period. Chase Biles ran for a 2-point conversion and the Hornets took a lead that they would never relinquish at 8-7.
But that’s when The Micah Stephens Show was just into its opening act of a blockbuster performance that many Hornet fans have never seen. He would score a total of four touchdowns on consecutive carries, and each resulting carry was longer than the one before it.
On the first play following a Douglas punt, Stephens turned around left end and dashed for 30 yards and a touchdown. Then on the first play of the next possession, he carried the ball 49 yards up the middle for another score.
Then to top off an incredible 7-minute stretch, he raced 78 yards on the first play of the next Hornet drive for yet another touchdown. Kyle Hornbuckle added the point-after on each.
Shiloh Biles finished off the first-half scoring for Locust Fork with a 38-yard touchdown run, putting his team up 36-7 at intermission.
Stephens finished the first half with 183 rushing yards on just seven carries.
Locust Fork closed out their scoring early in the third period when Hornbuckle tossed a 7-yard scoring pass to Brandon Rylant. Hornbuckle missed the point after, but the Hornets had a commanding 42-7 lead and Coach Chris Musso began emptying his bench giving some needed experience to underclassmen.
Douglas managed a couple of fourth-quarter scores, the last coming with only 30 seconds remaining.
Stephens finished the game with 203 rushing yards on only nine attempts. Shiloh Biles added 75 yards on 10 carries while Josh Tawbush chipped in another 69 yards on six attempts, as the Hornets piled up a new season-high rushing total of 383 yards and a total offense of 419 yards.
The Locust Fork defense held the Eagles (1-5, 0-5 region) to only 33 total yards in the first half and 212 total for the game.
The Hornets move to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the region, and are guaranteed first non-losing season since 2002. They travel to Guntersville next week.