It was a simple numbers game for the Signal Mountain Eagles on Friday night.
With eight Tyner defenders crowding the line of scrimmage and No. 7 on one side and No. 9 on the other, the No. 3-ranked Eagles needed one play and 12 seconds to take a lead they never surrendered in a 38-6 win over the visiting Rams.
Senior receiver Jon Patton, who wears No. 7, turned a simple receiver screen into a 62-yard touchdown on the game's first offensive play. Fellow senior receiver Will Queen, who wears No. 9, had a game-high six catches for 121 yards and a score as the Eagles won their 16th consecutive game.
"We have two of the best receivers in the state," junior quarterback Reese Phillips said. "I give them all the credit."
While Phillips was quick to hand out compliments, he should learn to accept as readily. The 6-foot-3 junior completed eight of his first 10 throws for three touchdowns and 175 yards as the Eagles built a 21-0 margin less than a minute into the second quarter.
"You have to give Signal a lot of credit," Tyner coach Wayne Turner said. "They jumped on us and never let up."
Phillips, who finished 12-of-23 for 262 yards despite a couple of dropped passes, said Patton's return after sitting out the opener for a summer violation of team rules was much-welcomed.
"It really helps having Jon back," Phillips said. "It helps me and it helps Will, because not all eyes are on him."
Said Patton: "It was awful. You always hate to miss a week, so it felt really good to score on that first play and help the team."
Patton's return and Queen's production were paramount for an offense that struggled moving the ball on the ground. Signal rushed for 42 yards on 28 carries, including two short touchdown runs by bruising senior Tim McClendon.
"We have two of the best receivers in town," Signal coach Bill Price said. "It's good to have Patton back because he's a real play-maker. If other teams are going to have eight in the box, we're going to have to be able to throw. And we can throw it; if I had coached better, we probably would have thrown it more, because we couldn't run it at all."
While the Eagles struggled to run the ball, they also suffocated the Rams' offense. Tyner did not complete a pass and 36 of the Rams' 191 rushing yards came on Bobby Hendricks' touchdown run in the final minute.
Signal's starting defense did not allow the Rams across midfield until late in the first half and had 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including 2 1/2 sacks from Dane DeWet and a sack from McClendon.
"I thought our first-team defense played really well," Price said. "We're still getting used to playing 4A football, so it was good to see use be aggressive."
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...