The Junior Jackets played host to the Bledsoe County Middle School Warriors last Thursday on a beautiful August evening with a rainbow over Chris Pickett Stadium at the old GCHS campus. For the second week in a row, the victorious Junior Jackets, led by a stellar defensive effort, blanked an opponent. This time it was a conference foe, as the Warriors fell to their hosts 20-0.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Junior Jackets found pay dirt on their second possession. Jordan Hackworth scooted 45 yards for Grundy County’s first score. The two-point conversion failed and the Jackets led 6-0. The Jacket drive covered 49 yards in only three plays.
The Yellow Jacket offense sputtered in the first half due to a lost fumble, an interception, and several penalties. However, a strong defense led by Walt Jones and Josh Childers kept the Warriors from penetrating past the Jacket 33-yard line in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets came out inspired and determined in the second half. Led by QB Jaden Ruehling, the team marched briskly down the field 65 yards in three plays for a score. Hackworth capped the drive with a 54-yard burst as he zigzagged through Warrior defenders into the end zone for the TD. Hackworth added the conversion run and the Junior Jackets led 14-0.
After another solid stand by the Jacket defenders, the offense wasted little time as they moved 58 yards in seven plays to tack on another score. Once again, it was Hackworth slipping in from five yards out off tackle to give the Jackets a 20-0 lead. The conversion failed. Gavin Tate carried three times for 23 yards on the drive, while Kase King had a 19-yard scamper to the Warrior five-yard line to set up Hackworth’s third touchdown of the evening.
Head coach Derryl Graham noted, “QB Ruehling really grew up and made some veteran decisions and the O-line controlled the line of scrimmage.”
The fourth quarter saw the Jacket defense stand tall and the offense led by their offensive line control the clock and preserve the second shutout on the young season.
Hackworth, who had 136 yards on nine carries in addition to his three touchdowns and one two-point conversion, led the Junior Jackets. Tate hammered through the line for 110 yards on 11 totes. Ruehling with 34 yards and King with 19 rounded out the rushing for the Jackets.
Defensively, Jones and Childers had nine and seven stops, respectively. Dray Wise was in on six tackles, while Bailey Hill, Gavin McDaniel, and Ruehling had five stops each. Bryson Braden had three stops before leaving the contest with a right arm injury that was later confirmed to be a broken arm.
Looking ahead to tonight’s game with Sequatchie County Middle School, Coach Graham offered this preview, “We keep reminding our kids that we play one game at a time.” He went on to say, “Sequatchie Middle School has a very large team.”
Tonight’s game starts at 6:30 p.m. at Chris Pickett Stadium on the campus of the old Grundy County High School. Coach Graham appreciates the fan support and asks that you all continue to back the Junior Jackets.