Stahope Elmore at Benjamin Russell

Jake Arthur/ Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. Stanhope Elmore running back Antonio Trone carries a punt at the football game between Benjamin Russell and Stanhope Elmore on Friday, Sept. 4, 2021. Stanhope Elmore won the game 42-20.

After a slow first half, the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs ran away with a division win on Friday night.

Stanhope Elmore beat Chilton County, 34-13, on the road in Class 6A, Region 3 play. The Mustangs (3-2, 2-1) were tied at halftime, 7-7, but scored four second-half touchdowns to pull away from the home team.

Antonio Trone scored the lone touchdown for Stanhope in the first half, and then the Mustangs couldn’t put anything else on the board.

They had uncharacteristic penalties ruin drives, but head coach Brian Bradford talked to his team at halftime and they came out on a different level.

“We played alright tonight,” Bradford said. “It was a slow start but then we turned it on in the second half and played well. I just told them to play ball and be who they were. We knew we were fine and were going to be okay, but we just needed to execute better and keep guys on their assignments. I told them once we relax and just play football, we’d be fine.”

Trone scored his second touchdown of the game in the second half, while junior quarterback Jacob Bryant hit junior receiver Israel Baker and senior Conner Gregg for two touchdown passes in the second half.

The fifth touchdown of the night came on special teams. CHilton County was lined up to punt the ball, but the snap went over the punter’s head and Stanhope beat Chilton County to the ball.

Senior linebacker Fred Bass was the first to the ball and jumped on it in the end zone to score his lone touchdown of the night.

Stanhope held onto its 34-7 lead for most of the second half, but Chilton County scored late in the game to cut the lead to 34-13.

“They played well over there,” Bradford said of the defense. “After the first half, Chilton County didn’t really do much. Our defense played well like normal.”

Stanhope, now 2-1 in region play, will host Eufaula next Friday night at home in a non-region game. The Mustangs then will play three region games in four weeks against Calera, Helena and Wetumpka.

The Mustangs are currently tied for second place in the region with Pelham, which beat the Mustangs 14-13 last week.

“Anytime you can get a region win, it’s very important,” Bradford said. “You’re proud to get those because it gets you closer to what our goal is, which is to make the postseason. Anytime you get a region win is good.”