Boyd-Buchanan’s football loss was painful Friday. It appears Friendship Christian’s victory was, too.
Any time a high school team gets bumped from the state playoffs it’s a difficult situation to handle, but maybe no more so when the loss is by the scantest of margins, in this case 21-20 in a Class 2A game at Boyd-Buchanan, and in overtime.
On top of that, Hunter Anderson’s winning extra point came after a controversial touchdown call on a fourth-down play that could’ve ended the Commanders’ season. Quarterback Brennan Swindoll was awarded a touchdown on a 6-yard scramble but injured the thumb on his left throwing hand in the process.
He’ll have X-rays, but at this point he is questionable for Friendship Christian (10-3) as it prepares for next Friday’s semifinal at Oliver Springs.
Boyd-Buchanan (10-2) scored on the second play of overtime when quarterback Jim Cardwell rolled left, then tucked the ball and cut through the middle of Friendship’s defense for a 10-yard touchdown. However, Chase Reed, who had a big night with 16 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns to go with two kickoff returns totaling 100 yards, had his extra point blocked.
Down 20-14, the Commanders had two short runs to start their overtime possession from the 10, and Swindoll threw a desperation incompletion as he neared the sideline on third down.
“We knew we had to get it in the end zone. We decided on a post wheel route with our best receiver, D.P., but nothing came open,” Swindoll said, referring to teammate Dalton Patterson. “I had to just find a way.”
Swindoll lunged at the end of his run and extended the ball toward the goal line, which is when his injury occurred. The pylon fell over and an official signaled touchdown.
Boyd-Buchanan coach Grant Reynolds was on the sideline across the way and said he couldn’t tell without looking at video if Swindoll was down or not, but in a despondent voice he said: “They made a play and we didn’t. That’s what it looks like.”
Friendship had success running the ball in the first half and led 14-6 at the break. Reynolds said the Bucs changed some alignments up front in the second half. The Commanders went from 11 first downs in the first half to three in the second.
After Boyd-Buchanan tied it with 4:49 left in the third quarter on a 56-yard run by Reed, the only serious scoring threat again in regulation was Anderson missing a 40-yard field-goal try to the right with 8:08 to play.
“I knew it would be that kind of game,” Friendship coach John McNeal said. “Last week we beat Trousdale County and I don’t think many people gave us a chance, but it doesn’t matter to us what other people think. Now we’ve beaten Trousdale and Boyd-Buchanan, the number one and two teams in the state, in consecutive weeks.
“I’m not one of those who thrives on confidence. We just want to get prepared for our next opponent. If you’re still playing at this point, you have a good team.”
Dekolas Reeves led the Commanders with 90 rushing yards but needed 23 attempts. Hard-charging fullback Kyle Wood added 51 yards, including two 5-yard scoring runs, on 14 carries.
“There was no quit in our kids,” Reynolds said. “That’s a tribute to their heart, attitude and senior leadership.
“We set a goal to win a state championship, and in that aspect we came up a little short. But we had some kids step up and become leaders. I’m very proud of their attitude and the work ethic they had every day.”
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.