The Grundy County Yellow Jacket football team lost their third straight game last Friday night, as they dropped a 17 – 0 decision to the Bledsoe County Warriors. It was the first time the Jackets had been shut out on the 2018 season. The loss dropped the Jackets’ season record to 1 – 3.
The Yellow Jackets return home tomorrow night (Friday) for the first time since the opening game of the season. The Jackets will host the DeKalb County Tigers in a non-region game at Crisp Field on the GCHS campus. Game time is 7 p.m. The Tigers come to the mountain riding a three game losing streak as well. They were defeated 48 – 14 last Friday night against Watertown.
The game at Bledsoe got off to a rocky start for the Jackets. The Jackets fumbled the opening kickoff and the Warriors recovered on the Jacket six-yard line. On the first play, Bledsoe’s RB blasted straight up the middle and a six-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the Warriors led 7 – 0.
The Jackets kept their poise and took the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball from their own 33-yard line down to the Warrior one-yard line before sophomore QB Jaden Ruehling was turned back by the Warrior defense at the one-yard line on a fourth down scramble as he was knocked out of bounds short of the goal line. The Jackets mixed the run and pass to move down the field in an impressive fashion to give themselves the opportunity to score.
Three plays later, the Jackets’ intercepted a Warrior pass at the Warrior nine-yard line. Once again the Warrior defense denied the Jackets and senior placekicker Jaden Nance missed a 26-yard field goal wide right. These first two possessions would prove to be the best opportunities the Jackets would have to score all night.
The Jacket defense showed they came to play as well and stopped the Warriors on a three and out and got the ball back at the Warrior 43-yard line after a 25-yard punt. The Jacket offense went three and out and following a punt out of bounds the Warriors took over at their own 20-yard line to begin the second quarter.
The Warrior offense moved the ball for the first time on the night as they moved from their 20-yard line to the Jacket 21-yard line in 11 plays. A fourth down incompletion gave the Jackets the ball back.
The rest of the first half were an exchange of punts by both teams and the Warriors took a 7 – 0 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was more of the same, although the Warrior offense found some success on the ground. The hosts finally put a drive together late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. They marched 68 yards in nine plays and moved ahead 14 – 0 on a 10-yard surge up the middle by their QB for the touchdown. The PAT was good.
The Jackets weren’t able to move the ball except for a 36-yard pass and catch from Ruehling to fellow sophomore wideout Jordan Hackworth. However, three straight incompletions and the final threat by the Jackets ended.
The Jackets minimal success on offense came via the pass as Ruehling hit four different receivers on his way to a 16 of 33 night with no interceptions and 182 yards. Hackworth had five catches for 90 yards, junior wideout Nathan Coffelt caught five passes for 60 yards, senior wideout Ethan Chouinard caught four passes for 19 yards, and senior running back Ethan Nunley had two catches for 13 yards.
The running game was held to 63 yards on 21 carries. Gavin Tate and Nunley each had nine carries for 30 and 25 yards, respectively.
On defense, freshman Michael Rollins had a good night with six stops. Nunley had five tackles, while Ruehling, Hackworth, and Chouinard had four tackles each. Hackworth recovered a fumble and Chouinard had an interception.
The Jackets did improve on their turnovers (1), penalties (2), and defending the big play (0). These are pivotal parts of a football game if the Jackets continue to improve in these areas will have a great chance to start winning some football games.
Tomorrow (Friday) night the Jackets return to the friendly confines of Crisp Field and they have fought hard all season. Fans take the opportunity to show your appreciation for the effort Coach Tracy Hayworth’s young team is showing by getting out to the game and cheer them on to victory and a chance to snap their three game losing streak.