The Franklin County Rebels of Class 5A proved why it is difficult to play teams from larger classifications as they were too much for the Grundy County Yellow Jackets in a 35 – 8 Homecoming victory in Winchester, last Friday night. The Rebels improved to 3 – 2 on the season as they stopped a two game losing streak. The Jackets dropped their fifth game in as many decisions. The Jackets return home to the campus of GCHS and Crisp Field tomorrow night (Friday) to host the Cannon County Lions in a Region 4 – 3A contest. It will be Homecoming for Grundy County as well. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Rebels were very methodical in their approach as they used ball control and a strong defensive effort to turn back the Jackets. After the Jacket defense stymied the Rebels on their first possession and forcing a missed field goal, the Rebels blocked a Yellow Jacket punt and recovered the pigskin on the Jacket 19-yard line. Three plays later Dakota Waggoner bulled in from the one for the first score of the night. Matthew Keidenweis kicked the first of his five successful PATs to give the Rebels a 7 – 0 lead after one quarter.
The Rebels added two more TDs in the second quarter. Marquice Tolliver’s 22-yard run and Isiaha Sisk’s 44-yard pass to Dylan Grimes gave the Rebels a 21 – 0 lead at the half. The last touchdown was an all too familiar situa-tion for the Jackets. A three play, 63-yard drive capped by the touchdown pass came with 1:01 left in the half. The Jackets have given up 200 points on the season to date. Ninety-two of those points have come in the second quarter, and 49 of those points have come in the final two minutes of the half. This is a concern for the Jacket coaching staff as they head into the second half of the season.
The one thing you can count on is the fight in the Jackets. Once again, they came out fighting in the second half. The Jackets took the second half kick-off and moved from their own 34-yard line to the Rebel 22 before the drive stalled. The highlight of the drive was a 37-yard quarterback sneak by versatile senior back Evan Nunley on fourth down.
After the defense producing a three and out, the Jacket special teams got into the act. A high snap over the punter’s head went into the end zone where junior defensive end Zac Campbell tackled the punter for a safety and the Jackets first points of the contest.
The ensuing free kick by the Rebels went out of bounds, which gave the Jackets great field position at the Rebel 45. The Jackets moved 45 yards in 11 plays on a drive that culminated in Nunley’s fourth down quarterback sneak for the Jacket touchdown. The PAT pass failed and the Jackets trailed the Rebels 21 – 8 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
Another familiar sce-nario happened on the ensuing Rebel possession. On their second play of the drive, Waggoner went off left tackle and sprinted 51 yards to pay dirt to answer the Yellow Jacket touchdown in less than a minute.
The Rebels scored again on a touchdown pass with 2:09 left in the game to make the final score 35 – 8.
Offensively, the Jackets managed only 52 yards on the ground in 29 carries. Nunley carried six times for 43 yards to lead the way. Junior Trenton Ashley hauled in five catches for 39 yards to lead the Jackets in receiving.
Defensively, the Jackets stopped a fake field goal attempt and turned the Rebels back on downs once as well. Nunley had 11 stops to lead the way. Senior safety Holden Hargis had seven tackles and Ashley added six tackles.
The Jackets return to region play tomorrow night against the Lions. Cannon County is 2-4 on the season. They lost to the DeKalb County Tigers last Friday night, 41 – 10. The Lions defeated the Jackets 33 – 0 last year.
It’s “Homecoming 2019.” Everyone get out and support these young men who continue to play their hearts out each and every week. They need the fans to show their support and remind them their efforts are appreciated.
Jacket opponents last week
South Pittsburg vs. Red Bank was cancelled. Open date tomorrow night. York Institute lost to White County 26 – 13. Host Upperman tomorrow night.
Bledsoe County lost to Sequatchie County 21 – 14. Host Marion County tomorrow night. DeKalb County defeated Cannon County 41 – 10. Travel to Livingston Academy tomorrow night. Franklin County defeated Grundy County 35 – 8. Travel to Columbia Central tomorrow night. Cannon County lost to DeKalb County 41 – 10. Travel to Grundy County tomorrow night. Whitwell was idle. Host Sale Creek tomorrow night. Upperman defeated Oneida 25 – 6. Travel to York Institute tomorrow night. Sequatchie County defeated Bledsoe County 21 – 14. Travel to Smith County tomorrow night. Smith County lost to Livingston Academy 38 – 13. Host Sequatchie County tomorrow night.