Maryville wins 16th state title
By NOAH MCKAY, BEN CRAVEN
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Maryville wins 16th state title
By NOAH MCKAY, BEN CRAVEN
The TSSAA’s Class 6A State Championship game was not much of a contest under the Friday night lights at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium as the Maryville High School Rebels routed the Cane Ridge Ravens 42-7 for their 16th state championship. The Rebels have now won five titles in Class 6A.
Cane Ridge finished its season with a 13-2 record in just its sixth postseason appearance. Maryville finished 14-1 and made the most out of avenging its 2016 semifinal loss to eventual state champion Oakland High School. The Rebels beat Oakland in the semifinals this year 31-28 with a game-ending field goal.
Even though Maryville’s offense was kept out of the end zone on its first and second drives due to a personal foul and a fumble, the Rebels still got on the board first with the only score in the first quarter. Byron Brown picked off Korey Andrews’ pass and returned it 77 yards to give the Rebels a 7-0 first-quarter advantage.
The Rebels then used the second quarter to basically put things out of reach as they simply couldn’t be stopped. They scored 21 points and held the Ravens to another scoreless quarter to take a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Maryville scored early in the third quarter to start the running clock up 35-0, and it scored again in the fourth to put the nail in the coffin. The Ravens scored their only touchdown of the game with 36 seconds left on a 15-yard pass from Andrews to Jared McCray.
The Rebels rushed for 233 yards in the game and passed for 136 yards. Quarterback Dylan Hopkins led the rushing attack with 90 yards on eight carries, and he was helped out by Travonis Hodge with 70 yards and a touchdown. Starter Isaiah Cobb rushed 11 times for 46 yards but left the game with an injury. The other two rushing touch downs came form Bryson Teffeteller and Trace Parris.
Trey Jones carried the ball seven times on the opening drive for 49-yards and capped it off with a three-yard touchdown rush to give UCHS an early 7-0 lead. Jones went down with an injury on the Tornadoes second drive of the game, but his replacement Kaleb Craig ran through the Ram defense with ease on a 14-play 94-yard drive that was capped off by an 11-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Braxton Waddell. The score stretched the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter.
The Rams responded on the ensuing drive. Jeremy Elston showed off his speed on the four-play 75-yard drive when he rushed in a 33-yard touchdown. UCHS blocked Luke Qualey’s extra-point attempt to keep its lead at 14-6.
The Golden Tornadoes went on one of the longest drives in all of high school football this season as they drove 94-yards on 25 plays in the second half and took 13 minutes, seven seconds. However, the UCHS offense faced a fourth-and-goal on the two-yard line when Waddell kept the ball, ran into his own lineman and fell to the turf, ending the long drive without putting points on the board.
The Ram defense forced a three-and-out to give its offense the ball back on its own 34-yard-line with 1:05 remaining. The offense promptly moved down the field, and Bowens found Jeremiah Batiste, who made a leaping catch, for a 33-yard touchdown. Then, on the two-point-conversion attempt, Bowens rolled out of the pocket to his left, stiff-armed a defender, and found Batiste again along the sideline to convert. The game was tied at 14 and moved into overtime.
The teams each traded touchdowns in the first overtime. Then, Bowens threw an interception to Andrew Easley in the end zone. On the next play, Waddell took a keeper around the outside, and ran untouched for a 10-yard touchdown that won a state championship.
Bowens was the clear leader for the Rams. He went 6-14 for 97 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, he rushed for 31 yards on eight carries.
Jones led the way for Union City. He carried the ball 44 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Waddell rushed for 63 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. Perhaps the most telling stat of the game was time of possession. Union City possessed the ball for 33 minutes while Tyner only did for 15.
Greeneville rolls to blowout third state title
GHS set a BlueCross Bowl record with 40 points in the first half. The Greene Devils held a 40-7 lead at halftime, and Mr. Football winning quarterback Cade Ballard accounted for seven touchdowns as his team captured its third state title in seven years.
GHS struck early and often. Seth Crawford intercepted a pass by Springfield QB Luke Petitt on the first drive of the game, then the Greene Devil offense scored on a 33–yard touchdown pass from Ballard to Seth Crawford to make it a 7-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets responded on the ensuing possession when Kevontay White rushed for a 38-yard touchdown. Dalton McLain’s PAT tied the game at seven.
On the first play of the Yellow Jacket’s drive, Petitt was hit in the pocket, fumbled and it was recovered by Greeneville’s Dorien Goddard. Ballard took the next snap and ran 13 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-7.
Ty Youngblood added to the GHS lead 31 seconds into the second quarter with a 17-yard rushing touchdown, his 15 th rushing touchdown of the year, to make it 27-7.
The rout continued as Greeneville added receiving touchdowns by Crawford and Cameron Hite. They also added two rushing touchdowns by Ballard. Sheperd converted every PAT and the Greene Devils led 54-7.
White led the Yellow Jackets on the stat sheet as he rushed for 72 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.
Ballard went 15-18 for 218 yards and three touchdowns through the air for the Greene Devils. On the ground, he rushed for 80 yards on 15 carries and four touchdowns. Youngblood accounted for 47 yards on six carries and one touchdown.
Ballard’s seven total touchdowns tied a BlueCross Bowl record for touchdowns by a single player in a game.