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It was one and done in the playoffs for the Yellow Jackets as they fell 56-20 to the Upperman Bees in Baxter Friday night in the opening round of the TSSAA playoffs. The loss ended the Jackets’ season with a 4-7 record.
“Our kids played lights out. We didn’t give up and fought hard right up until the last play. That’s what I’m proud of. They’ve become a brotherhood this year. Like I told them in the locker room, it’s not only them a brotherhood but with everybody who’s ever played football in Grundy County. They all understand that and I’m super proud of the way they played. I’m proud of those seniors. They did a great job,” said Coach Nick Bryant.
Bryant acknowledged the quality of the Upperman team but praised his team in their efforts as well.
“They’re quicker. They’ve got a great offense and a solid defense. They’re pretty big and strong. But our kids played great. Trevor Hampton had a lights out game. Michael Nolan had the same as all year being our leader. We had strong play from Arthur Roberts. There were a lot of kids that made a lot of big plays for us. Dylan Cleek has been banged up all year and he’s been doing great. He’s had some great runs and great defensive plays. If he didn’t sack the quarterback he was putting pressure on him. That was the whole goal was to try and stop the quarterback. We did a good job of that except for a 91 yard run which really improved his stats,” added the coach.
The Bees went up 14-0 in the first quarter with a three yard run and an 11 yard pass. They converted the two point conversion on one.
The Jackets responded at 5:37 of the second quarter when Houston Mainord hit Trevor Hampton on an 18 yard touchdown pass. The kick failed but the lead was cut to 14-6.
Upperman responded on the next drive on a 32 yard pass and kicked the extra point to lead 21-6 at the half. The Bees would post three scores in the third before Grundy would score again and put the game in the mercy rule. A 58 yard run, a 42 yard fumble return and a 43 yard run. Kicking all three PATs the Bees led 42-6 with 7:13 left in the third.
Grundy would battle back with two scores of their own in the third. At 6:13 Michael Nolan broke loose for a 42 yard TD run. Dylan Cleek threw to Trent Hampton for the 2 point conversion and the lead was cut to 42-14. With 46 seconds to go in the quarter Mainord hit Cleek for a 20 yard touchdown pass. The run for two failed and the Bees led 42-20.
That would be the last time Grundy saw pay dirt. Upperman scored on a 91 and 35 yard runs in the fourth, kicked the extra points and took the win by a 56-20 score.
Michael Nolan led in rushing for Grundy with 141 yards on 24 carries. Dylan Cleek had 23 on three totes. Logan Meeks picked up 19 on five.
Houston Mainord threw for 171 completing 16 of 32 passes with two touchdowns and one interception.
Trevor Hampton led the receivers with 135 yards on 11 catches. Dylan Cleek had 20 on one as well as 20 yards on a kickoff return. Logan Meeks had nine on two and picked up 82 yards five kickoff returns. Jesse Goodman had 21 yards on a return. Grundy had 349 total yards on offense.
Michael Nolan and Dylan Cleek led the defense with five solos, one tackle for a loss and one sack each. Terrince Bramhall had four solos, a tackle for a loss and a sack. Eldon Posey made four solos and a tackle for a loss. Arthur Roberts also had five tackles. Chase Meeks recovered a fumble with his one stop. Grundy gave up 335 yards on the ground and 123 in the air. The game marked the final one for Yellow Jacket seniors Dakota Cantrell, Arthur Roberts, Schylar Burgess, Michael Nolan, Dylan Cleek, Chase Nunley, Jesse Goodman, Tyler Land and Dominic Elizalda.