Trojans Fall To Patriots 21-15
Jefferson County wasted no time in putting the first points on the scoreboard. Using a sixty yard opening kickoff return by star Scooter Houston the Patriots went forty yards in only 4 plays for the touchdown, which was a 33 yard run by tailback Aaron Carson.
West received the ensuing kickoff and went three and out. From there, in what seemed to be a replay of the Maryville and Morristown West game from a year ago, Jefferson County used only 5 plays in going 54 yards, the majority coming on Houston's first touchdown run of the night, a forty one yard scamper into the end zone. Houston plunged in from a yard out following two offside penalties by West on the PAT Try, for a two point conversion.
The West High defense then stiffened as both teams traded punts to close the first quarter action with Jefferson County leading 15-0.
The second period of play at Burke Toney Stadium was a defensive struggle between the two teams. The first West series of the quarter was a seven play drive which ran 4 minutes off the clock, resulting in a punt to the Patriots. It looked as if Jefferson County would try to put the game out of reach of the Trojans early as they tried to mount a drive. It looked as if the Patriots hit paydirt with 4 minutes remaining in the half when Houston raced down the sidelines into the endzone; however, the run was called back due to a Jefferson County holding penalty. Three plays later the Patriots punted the ball away and following a three and out by the Trojans the first half came to an end, with the score remaining 15-0 in favor of the visiting Patriots.
West High coach Don Woods fired his team up at the half, as a confident West team on the offensive side of the ball took control of the third period. West took the second half opening kickoff 64 yards in six plays for a touchdown, which came on a 22 yard scamper on a draw by quarterback John Minnich. The ensuing possession for the Patriots didn't go far as they punted the ball away after a three and out. The Trojans followed that three and out with one of their own giving the ball to the Patriots with 3:21 to play in the 3rd quarter. Five plays into the drive for Jefferson County a fumble gave the ball to West in Patriot territory with 1:21 left in the period. West needed only three plays to travel 44 yards for the score, which came on a 36 yard option play by tailback Bradley James. The two point conversion was scored by Charles Rucker making the score 15 all as the 4th quarter began.
Jefferson County threatened early in the period, getting as deep as the Trojan 15 before turning the ball over on downs. West marched the ball from their own 16 yard line to the 42 of the Patriots in 8 plays, however they fumbled the ball over to the Patriots with only 4:53 remaining in the contest. A 3 and out by the Patriots resulted in a 38 yard punt which pinned the West High Trojans on their own 14 with 3:47 to play.
On the first play of the West possession, Minnich threw a long pass downfield, which was intercepted by Jefferson County's Tyler Brown. With 3:40 left, the Patriots needed only 42 yards for the go ahead and potential game winning score. A second down pass complete to Brown for 11 yards, followed by a Houston run for 8 and a Jeff Jennings run for 10 gave the Patriots 1st and 10 at the West 13. A Trojan timeout couldn't stop the Patriots here, and on the next play Houston ran for a 13 yard touchdown, his second of the night.
However, 2:17 was still left on the clock for the Trojans. The Trojans began their possession at their own forty yardline. A 23 yard Charles Rucker run gave the Trojan faithful something to cheer about as the clock wound down. Eventually the Trojans worked the ball down to the 20 yard line of Jefferson County. With 30 seconds remaining, Minnich dropped back to pass, looked toward the end zone, however Tyler Brown again saved the day for the Patriots, making his second interception of the quarter to seal the win for the Patriots by a score of 21-15.
Both teams will not have time to rest however. The Trojans (1-2, 1-0) will travel to 4A State Champion Maryville next week, while Jefferson County (3-0, 1-0) will play host to 5A Powerhouse Kingsport Dobyns Bennett.
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