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Tigers’ air attack grounds Jackets

Posted on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:34 am

The Grundy County Yellow Jackets dropped their fourth game in a row on the season in a home loss to the DeKalb County Tigers. The non – region loss came as the Jackets returned home from a three game road swing. The loss drops the Yellow Jackets record to 1 – 4 heading into a bye week, which will give them a chance to get some key people back from the injury list.

The Jackets return to action next Friday night (September 28) as they go back on the road and return to Region 4 – 3A action at Cannon County.

Last Friday night, the Jackets returned home before a huge crowd that showed up to cheer them on and played extremely hard, but fell victim to the long pass plays of the Tigers. The Jacket defense, playing the last couple of games without a key performer in junior LB Evan Nunley, has struggled to stop the opponents. Hopefully, the week off will help get all of the injured players back on the field.

The Tigers struck quickly through the air with a 54-yard touchdown pass on the fifth play of a 65-yard drive after taking the opening kickoff. The PAT was good and the visitors led 7 – 0.

The Jackets were stymied on their first possession, but their punt coverage team recovered a fumble at the Tiger 43. The Jackets got one first down, but a two-yard loss and a nine-yard sack put an end to the drive. Left footed punter Travis Parson pinned the Tigers at their own two yard line with a 34-yard punt.

The Jacket defense once again was unable to stop the Tigers. After a 25-yard QB keeper on first down, the Tigers added a 32-yard aerial catch and overcame a 16-yard loss on an errant shotgun snap and completed a 43-yard touchdown pass. The PAT gave the Tigers a 14 – 0 lead after one quarter.

The Jackets mounted their first serious drive toward the end of the first quarter and extended it into the second quarter before stalling out at the DeKalb 14-yard line. The Jackets were 4th and goal at the nine when sophomore Jordan Hackworth was thrown for a five-yard loss. The key plays on the drive were a 24-yard completion from senior signal caller Ethan Nunley to Hackworth and a 15-yard jaunt by freshman RB Gavin Tate. Nunley’s pass to Hackworth came on a 3rd and 8 from the Jacket 35, while Tate’s run went from the Tiger 35 down to the 20-yard line.

The Tigers struck quickly again. They moved downfield in six plays to hit pay dirt.  Five consecutive running plays opened the 86-yard drive and then the third touchdown pass of the first half went for 53 yards. The PAT gave the Tigers a 21 – 0 lead.

The Jackets finally got on the board late in the second quarter following an interception and return by junior DB Nathan Coffelt. The Jackets were in business at the Tiger 11. The Jackets scored when Tate plowed in from five yards out for the touchdown. The PAT failed and the Tigers took a 21 – 6 lead into the intermission.

The Jackets opened the second half with a time consuming drive that moved from their own 27-yard line to the Tiger 45. Tate was stopped after a one-yard gain on a 4th and 2 from the 46 and the Tigers took over.

Four plays later, the Tigers closed out the scoring on the evening with a 39-yard scamper to pay dirt. The PAT made the score 28 – 6.

The Jackets were unable to get anything going on offense and the game ended with the final of 28 – 6.

Offensively, the Jackets were unable to mount a running attack. They were held to 57 yards on 34 carries. Tate led the way with 57 yards on 20 carries. Through the air the Jackets were 12 – 18 – 0 for 88 yards. Hackworth caught three passes for 47 yards to lead the attack.

Defensively, Coffelt’s interception was the highlight along with three fumble recoveries. Two of the fumble recoveries were by the punt coverage team.

“I thought our kids played hard. When I looked at the film we had made a lot of good plays, a lot more good than bad, but the bad ones were the ones that got us beat,” said Head Coach Tracy Hayworth.

“Nobody has really driven the ball on us – on defense they either got a one play score because we had somebody in the wrong place, a missed tackle, or something of that nature. All of that can be coached and fixed and that is what we will be working on during this off week.

“We have two weeks to get ready for our next opponent, but instead of only getting ready for that opponent we will work on defensive fits, missed tackles and coach those coachables.

“We still have a lot of catching up to do from where I took the team over so late.

“On offense, we are going to get our gold area execution better. We can drive the ball down the field and get to the 35-yard line and we seem to fizzle out or start having penalties. I don’t know if that’s because we are trying to run too complicated of a formation in that area. The field gets shorter and tighter and we can’t spread them out as much so we have to learn to work better in a confined area and that’s what we are going to put our main emphasis on during this off week,” concluded Hayworth.

The Jackets will enjoy an open date tomorrow night.  It comes exactly midway of the season. The Jackets will return next Friday, September 28, and travel to Woodbury to take on the Lions of Cannon County in a Region 4 – 3A matchup. After that contest the Jackets will play host to three of their final four opponents. They also play four region games in the second half of the season.