If you’ve never been to a football game at Sequatchie County, make it a point to go. And if you can time it when Bledsoe County is going to be there, all the better.
The two locked up in one of the most competitive, exciting high school football games Friday night and the excitement started before the Indians’ horse and pony riders raced out to jab a spear into the turf at midfield.
Fans for each formed an entry and those human tunnels ran from the end zone all the way down inside the other 20-yard line. The house was packed and boosters were three- and four-deep around parts of the fence surrounding the field, and they booed and cheered and jeered from opening kickoff to final whistle.
The players gave them the show they anticipated, Sequatchie with its power running game from the Wing-T and the I and Bledsoe with its balanced pass/run attack that features back Brandon Smith.
Bledsoe County rallied to win 21-17 but I’d say there’s a good chance these two will play again in the postseason. I wouldn’t, however, wager a bookie’s nickel on the outcome.
• Their pride as battered as their starting lineup following physical games two of the previous three weeks against Sequatchie County and Signal Mountain, South Pittsburg’s Pirates answered their critics Friday. With a patchwork offense, they blocked well enough for Jajuan Lankford to pick up 366 yards and six touchdowns in a 74-36 victory over Whitwell. If you’re interested, that’s 1,098 feet and is the 10th-best single-game rushing performance in TSSAA history.
• Whitwell got crunched in that game but if one was to look on the bright side from a Whitwell perspective, the game marked the first time since 1990 that the Tigers had scored 36 points on the Pirates. That one in '90, though, resulted in a Whitwell win (36-20), according to Times Free Press records. Whitwell beat them the next year, too, 21-8, on its way to a 12-2 season.
• If you missed it, parents, please note the following tale, which was first reported by Chip Cirillo of the Tennessean.
It seems a mom complaining on Facebook about her sons’ sloppy habits at home has cost Perry County three football wins.
Offensive lineman Rodney and Ryan Belasic were declared ineligible by the TSSAA because their entire family does not reside in Perry County. According to the story, the mother posted on her Facebook page that she sent the kids to Perry County for the week and that she wouldn’t see them again until the weekend. She then wrote asking how can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only there on Saturday and Sunday?
The kids had a residence in Perry County that they used Monday through Thursday and then went “home” to Henry County for the weekend.
They players were ruled ineligible by the TSSAA, which was notified by Perry County school officials.
The TSSAA ruling leaves Perry County with a 2-0 record and vacates wins over Cornersville, Forrest and Lewis County.
• He was concerned, sure, after his truck was stolen on the Thursday night before his Cleveland team played Red Bank, but head coach E.K. Slaughter felt pretty good early last week.
“I can always get another truck,” he said after Cleveland blistered Red Bank 41-6.
• How in the world does East Ridge beat East Hamilton? The Pioneers threw for a grand total of 12 yards and ran for just 117 in addition to picking up 103 penalty yards. However, East Hamilton fumbled four times and lost all four and also put a punt snap through the end zone for the deciding safety. The Pioneers may be inconsistent on offense but they are really strong defensively, limiting the visiting Hurricanes to 64 rushing yards (2.4 per carry).
• Unaka, Boyd-Buchanan’s opponent this week, lost its first four games, three by shutout, but has since won back-to-back games.
Cannon County, which travels to Meigs County this week, is 0-7 and has surrendered no fewer than 39 points in each of the losses. Two teams, Westmoreland and Livingston Academy, hung 62 on the Lions.
• Most experienced Baylor followers were concerned about Friday’s game at Brentwood when they got a look last winter at the Red Raiders’ schedule — back-to-back Nashville trips to play Father Ryan and MBA, then home to play defending state champion Ensworth and rival McCallie and then another trip to Nashville, this time against second-ranked Brentwood Academy, which had an open date on Sept. 23. Was surprised, though, that Baylor’s running game was virtually nonexistent (a very meager 43 yards on 29 carries).
• Think Doug Greene might be having second thoughts? The former Ooltewah assistant is in his first season at Rhea County and his team slipped to 0-7 following a 41-9 beatdown at the hands of Bradley Central. That said, Greene, has been forced to play a whole lot of freshman, and that’s something you just don’t do and maintain any expectations of winning in Class 6A football.
• So the list of area undefeated teams is now down to three? Boyd-Buchanan is 7-0, North Jackson 6-0 and Calhoun 5-0. The list of winless, from which Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe escaped on Sept. 23, includes the aforementioned Rhea County, Walker Valley, Howard, Murray County and North Murray.
• Have you noticed the area’s north Alabama contingent? In addition to unbeaten North Jackson, Fort Payne, North Sand Mountain and Ider are 5-1.
• Looking at leaders, here are the teams that unbeaten in their respective districts: McMinn County (3-0) and Bradley Central 2-0 in 3-AAA, Signal Mountain 3-0 in 7-AA, Red Bank 3-0 in 6-AA, Polk County 2-0 in 5-AA, South Pittsburg 3-0 in 6-A, Boyd-Buchanan 2-0 in 5-A; LaFayette and Ringgold 1-0 in 7-AAA (A), and Calhoun 5-0 in 7-AA (B).
• For those coaching veterans who knew him, veteran Spring Hill coach Buford Gladney died on Sept. 25 and funeral services were held Thursday. Gladney won 127 games and a state championship in 16 seasons at the middle Tennessee school.
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 ...