It wasn’t the start everyone had hoped for as the Yellow Jackets were defeated Friday night 43-6 by Whitwell on the road. The Tigers exploded for 445 yards of rushing to dominate the contest and take the win. It was a tough start for Coach Casey Tate in his first game at the helm.
“I told the kids something I’ve always remembered. When you’re lost, the first thing you have to admit is you’re lost. We have to come together as a family and we’ve got to play the hand we’re dealt.
“I asked the kids to raise their hands as to how many had started in a varsity football game. Three kids raised their hands. It is what it is. I knew what it was when I took the job and we’re going to play the hand we’re dealt. We’re going to get better if we come together as a family and admit where we’re at and the kind of effort we’re giving, and admit where we want to go then we’re going to start getting better,” said Coach Tate.
Whitwell jumped out to an 18-0 lead with three quick first quarter touchdown runs. They couldn’t convert on any two point runs but held a strong lead. Grundy responded with 2:42 to go in the first when James McDaniel exploded for a 63 yard run. The run for two failed and the score was 18-6.
The Tigers would add two more before halftime to lead 33-6 at the break. They added a TD and a field goal in the third quarter to go up 43-6.
Grundy had two touchdown runs called back in the contest as they racked up eight penalties for 76 yards to Whitwell’s four for 40.
James McDaniel led the Grundy offense with 141 yards on six carries. Ethan Nunley followed with 36 off 12 totes. Kevin Castro picked up 33 yards on four carries. Corbin Lusk had five on two.
Kevin Castro led the defense with 13 total tackles including one for a loss. Josh Wingo made nine stops with three of those being for a loss. Dewayne Grooms had eight tackles with one for a loss. Corbin Lusk was also in on eight stops. Travis Cunningham and Daygon Dodson had five tackles each.
“We need people going hard every rep of practice, making each other better and pushing each other. Somebody’s got to step up and lead this thing. I’m dealing with a 14 year old quarterback and a 15 year old quarterback with the 14 year old taking the majority of the snaps. It’s 43-6 and I’d take that kid over anybody. Ethan Nunley is checking off and working hard. I couldn’t even run out there when I was 14 years old much less ran the varsity offense. We had two touchdowns called back. Not that it would have made a dent in the final score but he’s trying to do the right things. He wants to be good.
“The seniors and juniors want to be good, there’s just not many of them. We’ve got talent but it’s raw. I told the boys we made the same mistakes with some of the boys that just graduated but we were at Bledsoe in a JV game when they were freshman and not trying to work it out in a varsity game on a Friday night. Now everyone is watching you correct your fundamental mistakes.
“My coaches are on it. There’s nobody coaching as hard as my coaches are. Ultimately it comes down on me. If the kids are not going where they need to go it’s on me. We’re dealing with a lot of 15 year olds and you wish you had some pixie dust to sprinkle on them and grow them up a little bit.
“I thought James McDaniel played a great ball game. I thought Josh Wingo played a good game. I thought Corbin Lusk responded well. We had fundamental mistakes on defense and it will cost you. We will not be out worked. We’re going to come back in, regroup and go. That’s all we can do,” said Coach Tate.
Coach Tate also wanted to address concerns from a football preview article in another publication that has caused concern for Grundy fans.
“The football preview is being interpreted wrong concerning the quote included. A coach from a team Grundy played last year made the comment about them being bad. People seem to think I said that. My comments are towards my team, not anybody else’s. The politically correct way to say what I said would have been we are playing not to lose instead of playing to win. That’s a hump referred to commonly by coaches as the losers limp. It’s a mindset that coaches work to overcome. We are going to overcome it. I called no player past or present a loser. I had 3 years of coaching with the group that just went out and take it personally when anyone takes a shot at one of my boys. Whether they are done playing or still playing,” said Tate.
Grundy hosts Marion County Friday at 7 p.m. for the first home game. The Warriors opened their season Saturday with a 38-12 win over Hixson. The boys from the mountain are always pumped up to play the boys from Jasper. The crowds are usually pumped as well and ready to….Get out to the game!