The Grundy County Yellow Jackets got the region part of their schedule off to a great start with a heart stopping 1312 victory over Cannon County last Friday night in Woodbury. On a beautiful evening for football with low humidity and clear skies, the victorious Jackets snapped a nine game losing streak and took that first step in reaching their goal of making the TSSAA playoffs.
The Jackets proceeded to put together a time consuming drive assisted by a roughing the punter penalty, but turned the ball over on downs at the Lion 40. The Jackets started the drive at their own 20-yard line following a touchback of the Lions’ kickoff.
After the Lions went three and out, the Jackets put together another drive that ended with a Josh Wingo three-yard plunge that tied the game at 66. The extra point was blocked. The Jacket drive went 62 yards in nine plays.
The Jackets once again put together a long drive that started at their own 31. They moved to the Lion nine-yard line. However, a 15-yard penalty and a 16-yard loss on a fourth down sack ended the Jacket scoring threat.
Defenses pretty much ruled the rest of the half most of the third quarter. The Lions put together a seven play, 55-yard drive that put them back in front on a one-yard quarterback sneak for the touchdown on the last play of the third quarter. The two-point conversion run was stuffed by the Jacket defense and the hosts led 126 after three quarters.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jacket senior Mikey Myers returned the kick 22 yards to put the Yellow Jackets in business at their own 39. Eight plays later senior quarterback Kevin Castro sprinted into the end zone from four yards out and the game was tied at 1212. Sophomore Johnny Adkins booted the all-important PAT and the Jackets led for the first time 1312.
Cannon County had the ball on two more possessions, but the Jacket defense stiffened. The first possession ended when sophomore Daygon Dodson and senior Andrew Sanders forced the Lion QB out of bounds on a fourth down scramble. The second possession ended when Myers made a juggling interception. The receiver and Myers both went up in the air on a long pass down field and the ball was deflected by Myers who fell to the ground and was able to snare the errant pigskin while he was lying on his back before it hit the ground. The INT sealed the victory as the Jacket offense went into the victory formation and the losing streak was history.
The Jackets are 12 on the season and most importantly 10 in Region 43A. The Lions are 12 and 01.
Offensively, Wingo had 85 yards on 13 carries. Senior workhorse James McDaniel added 66 yards on 12 carries. QB Castro carried the ball 17 times for 54 yards and completed his lone attempt to Wingo for seven yards.
Defensively, linebackers Wingo and senior Matt Burrows led the team with 13 and 10 tackles, respectively. Sanders wasn’t far behind with eight hits, while McDaniel added five tackles. Dodson and Castro had four stops each, while Myers’ interception was the only turnover the Jacket defense could force on the evening.
Head Coach Casey Tate was proud of his team. An elated Tate said, “We have talked about giving our best effort for four quarters and we did that against Cannon County.”
The Jackets go back out on the road tomorrow night as they travel to Watertown to take on the 30 Purple Tigers. Tate said, “We need to refocus our hearts and minds and go back to work.” He added, “The seniors have done a great job as leaders and the younger players have stepped up and filled shoes usually occupied by upperclassmen and have answered the bell.”