It was an upset throng of fans that exited Finley Stadium Friday night.
The crowd estimated between 7,000 and 8,000 wasn't angry because of anything they had seen during the Best of Preps Jamboree's marquee matchup between Signal Mountain and Bradley Central. They just didn't want the 20-minute quarter to end.
Each team scored on both of its possessions and they racked up a combined 278 yards of offense in the quarter won by Bradley, 14-13, on a missed PAT following the Eagles' opening score. Bradley quarterback Bryce Copeland engineered a 70-yard drive in the final minutes, capped by 14-yard touchdown pass to Logan Fetzner with 33 seconds remaining.
"We executed like we were in midseason form," said Copeland, who was 5-for-9 passing for 115 yards and two scores. "My line blocked great and I've got all kinds of weapons that made me look good."
Ace receiver James Stovall was chief among those weapons, hauling in three passes for 85 yards and the Bears' first touchdown on a 14-yard leaping catch of a Copeland pass.
Signal Mountain outgained Bradley 165 yards to 113, its offense grinding out yards on hard running by newcomer Tim McClendon (29 yards on four carries) and returning fullback Zack Bowman, who had an 11-yard TD run. The offense's star, however, was first-year starting quarterback Reese Phillips, who was 4-for-4 for 92 yards, 83 going to senior receiver Will Queen on three catches.
"Offensively we looked pretty good, and if this had been a four-quarter game it might have ended 55-48," Signal coach Bill Price said. "We've got some work to do defensively, but we haven't worked too hard on pass defense because our first two opponents are primarily running teams."
• Grace Academy 28, Coahulla Creek 0: The Golden Eagles came out offensive-minded behind the running of Ashton Nishwonger, who got their first TD with a 50-yard run. The senior also had a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. Josh Smith scored two TDs and threw for another.
Coahulla Creek, which will play a junior varsity schedule this year, lost quarterback Hunter Williams to a broken collarbone. He's expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
• Baylor 6, Central 0: It was hard to say which was more impressive, the Red Raiders or quarterback Matthew Oellerich, who didn't misfire on a single pass attempt.
The defense kept Central on its end of the field almost the entire time and had one series that netted the Pounders a minus-35 yards. Oellerich threw a 42-yard TD pass to Joey Rogers among his six completions.
"The line blocked awfully well and the receivers made some great catches," Oellerich said.
• McCallie 7, Red Bank 0: New coach Bubba Simmons came out a winner following a strong defensive showing that included a Jack Harris fumble recovery and Chad Toliver's interception at the goal line with 1:30 to play.
McCallie, behind a strong offensive line featuring Tye Youngblood, Parker Ryals, Sam Devaney, Russ Robinson and Harris, drove 70 yards on its first possession, with Jorden Williams scoring on a 17-yard run.
"I saw a lot of determination and desire tonight," Simmons said. "As long as you get effort and the guys are doing the things you tell them to do, you're pleased. I feel really good about our performance."
• Franklin County 6, Soddy-Daisy 0: The Rebels went 70 yards on their first possession, Colton Nunley scoring on a 25-yard run. Soddy-Daisy's electric running back, Cedric Edwards, was held in check, his long run a 10-yarder. The Trojans' final drive reached the Franklin 29 at the final horn.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...