The GCHS Yellow Jackets played a thriller of game Friday night. It looked like the rainy weather was going to cause the season opener to be postponed, but after a 30 minute delay, the football game got underway. The field conditions were very sloppy for new head football coach Tracy Hayworth’s squad, but the Jackets fought through the nasty conditions and came out with a 21-14 win over the Eagles of East Hickman.
Freshman running back Gavin Tate scored six for Grundy in the first quarter, as he ran over a couple defenders for the 4-yard score. Jaden “Larry” Nance kicked the extra point giving the Jackets a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Jackets found pay dirt again as Evan Nunley juked his way with a 9-yard touchdown. Nance made good on the point after attempt. The Yellow Jackets played tough defense and shut down the East Hickman offense the entire first half. They headed to the locker room at the half with a 14-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets controlled the clock for most of the third quarter but never made it to the end zone. East Hickman scored with just seconds left on the clock as the rain really started to fall, bringing the score to 14-6 after their failed point after attempt.
The game was starting to get messy with rain falling causing fumbles and turnovers for the Jackets. East Hickman took ad-vantage of it and scored one more time during the middle of the fourth quarter and went for a 2 point conversion to tie the game 14-14.
The Yellow Jackets got the ball back with 2 minutes left on the clock and drove down the field. After 3 false start calls on the Jackets, Grundy found themselves in a 3rd and 32 situation. Evan Nunley broke loose on a run falling just short of a first down. The Jackets went for it on 4th down that resulted in a 23 yard touchdown from Ethan Nunley giving the Jackets the lead back with only a minute left to go in the game. Nance was good for his third point after attempt of the game.
The Jackets’ defense held the Eagles off to r-gain possession of the ball with only seconds left in the game. They lined up for a quarterback kneel taking the 21-14 win.
Evan Nunley had 13 carries for 82 yards, 2 receptions for 42 yards, with 8 solo tackles and 1 assist. Ethan Nunley carried the ball 12 times for 112 yards, threw for 83 yards, with 10 solo tackles, 4 assist and 2 tackles for loss. Tate had 52 yards on 9 carries. Nance went 3-3 on point after attempts.
“This win was something big. Huge doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was told this was the first time Grundy has won a season opener since around 2011,” said Jackets Coach Hayworth.
“These kids have had issues learning how to win and learning how to win after hitting a wall of fatigue and not knowing how to push through that wall to get that win. So many times in years before, the game would be close or they would even be winning at halftime and they would lose the ballgame. That’s because they didn’t know how to push through that wall.
“The other team was threatening to score on us again, and I called a time out to give them rest. I remember them looking at me, and I said, ‘Remember me talking to you all about this is how champions feel? Think about how less that hurt is going to be when you come out on the winning side. Think of how you’re going to feel when you push through this wall and win. Do you want to feel a losing hurt or a winning hurt?’
“That’s when Ethan rallied the team up and they pushed through that wall for the win. They doubted themselves before but this win was big for them to know they can push through that wall,” stated Coach Hayworth.
“We’ve still got to work on our turnovers and tak-ing care of the ball. We had a lot of missed opportunities, and we can use those miscues to build on. I was so proud we hung in there and came out with a win even with those missed opportunities. It told me a lot about their character and about what this team is going to be able to accomplish.”
The Yellow Jackets will be traveling to Ezell Harding this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. The address to the game is 574 Bell Rd, Antioch, TN 37013. It’s a long drive, but our boys in purple would love to see the fans pack the stands.