For Jacket fans that remember the days of smash mouth football from years ago, last Friday night was a trip down memory lane. The Grundy County Yellow Jackets and the Cannon County Lions played ball control all night with the Lions scoring late in the fourth quarter to spoil Grundy County’s 2019 Homecoming with a 28 – 22 victory.
It was the Jackets’ sixth loss in as many decisions and dropped their Region 4 – 3A record to 0 – 2. Cannon County improved to 3 – 4 overall and 1 – 2 in region play. The Jackets travel to Whitwell tomorrow night (Friday) to take on the Tigers. The Tigers are 0 – 6 as well and as the Yellow Jackets are, they’re seeking their initial win on the season. Game time is 7 p.m.
Friday night, the Yellow Jackets lined up in the power I formation and used a power running game to control the ball and the clock to give themselves a chance to win. Most longtime Jacket fans would probably agree that teams on the mountain are built to play this type of football and it was refreshing and promising to see the old style game.
The Jackets went 56 yards on eight plays chewing up 4:00 minutes of the first quarter to take the lead 6 – 0. After a short opening kickoff by the Lions, the Jackets used eight running plays by the tandem running of senior Evan Nunley and sophomore Gavin Tate. However, junior Jordan Hackworth’s one-yard plunge allowed the Jackets to reach pay dirt. The PAT kick was wide right.
The Lions used the same game plan and went 79 yards in 11 plays to tie the score at 6 – 6. An errant snap on the PAT kick caused the Lions to scramble and be dropped for a loss and a failed two point attempt.
The Jackets were moving the ball on the ground once again. They advanced from their own 35 -yard line to the Lion 34 before a mix up in the backfield resulted in a lost fumble and recovery by the Lions.
The Jacket defense rose to the occasion and forced the only punt by either team on the evening. The Jackets once again moved the ball with some success from their 21-yard line to the Lions’ 42-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Jacket defense forced a fumble on the Lions’ next possession when junior LB Hackworth hit the receiver as he hauled in the pass and caused him to fumble and then recovered the loose pigskin. The Jackets ran out the clock and went to intermission knotted at 6 – 6.
The Lions took the second half kickoff and moved 83 yards in seven plays to take their first lead of the night. The two-point run was successful and with 8:29 left in the third quarter the Lions led 14 – 6.
The Jackets wasted very little time as Jacob Dixon’s quarterback sneak from one yard out and Nunley’s two-point conversion run tied the game once again at 14 – 14. Nunley had runs of 18 and 22 yards and Hackworth added an 11-yard jaunt to highlight the drive.
The Lions returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the Jacket 45-yard line. Six plays later the Lions took the lead again with a nine yard run. The PAT kick failed and the Lions led 20 – 14 after three quarters.
The Jackets put another time consuming drive together that stalled out at the Lions 35-yard line. Two plays later the Jackets recovered a Lion fumble at the Lion 20-yard line. After an encroachment penalty on the Lions moved the ball to the 15-yard line. Nunley gained 13 yards and a first down before Tate rammed in from the two yard line to tie the game. Tate’s conversion run around right end gave the Jackets a 22 – 20 lead with 6:28 left in the game.
The Lions weren’t to be denied. They moved the ball 67 yards in seven plays capped by a 19 yard run for the touchdown. The conversion run was good and with 3:27 left to play the Lions led 28 – 22.
The Jackets weren’t able to get a first down on their ensuing possession and the Lions were able to run out the clock and garner their second consecutive victory over the Jackets.
Offensively, Tate led the ground attack with 120 yards on 17 carries and Nunley carried the ball 21 times for 103 yards. Hackworth had the lone reception in three attempts from Dixon for 15 yards. Defensively, the Jackets were led by Nunley and sophomore DT Dawson Misiolek with seven and six stops, respectively.
The Jackets will take on the Tigers who are the defending Class 1A state champions. Obviously, a shell of what they were last year, it should be a good game with both teams starved to get their first victory in 2019. The Tigers lost last week to Sale Creek 13 – 0.
Jacket opponents last week
South Pittsburg was idle. Host Meigs County tomorrow night. York Institute lost to Upperman 35 – 0. Open date tomorrow night. Bledsoe County defeated Marion County 34 – 12. Host Monterey tomorrow night. DeKalb County lost to Livingston Academy 31 – 0. Host Smith County tomorrow night. Franklin County lost to Columbia 26 – 20. Travel to Summit tomorrow night. Cannon County defeated Grundy County 28 – 22. Host Cascade tomorrow night. Whitwell lost to Sale Creek 13 – 0. Host Grundy County tomorrow night. Upperman defeated York Institute 35 – 0. Open date tomorrow night. Sequatchie County lost to Smith County 38 – 19. Open date tomorrow night. Smith County defeated Sequatchie County 38 – 19. Travel to DeKalb County tomorrow