When tested on his 40-yard dash last spring, C.J. Blue turned a 4.72. He must have had a bushel of Wheaties since.
Soddy-Daisy's junior running back, a cousin of former Trojans legends Lydell and Avery Blue, ran for 117 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 5-yard TD pass from Brett Standifer in a 32-27 victory over host Red Bank.
"We felt like we could run and then we challenged the kids' heart. And every one of them sold out," jubilant Soddy-Daisy coach Kevin Orr said.
The only disappointment for Trojans fans was the fact that their band did not have time to perform because of a radio station promotion with a fan trying to kick a ball into a Fiat.
Two of Blue's TDs came in the first half, the second with just 0:27 left in the second period on the short pass that put the Trojans back in front 20-14.
It was that kind of game.
"E.K. Slaughter [the Red Bank coach] and [offensive coordinator] Kraig Campbell are offensive masterminds," Orr said, "but our kids rose to the occasion to overcome [quarterback Hagen] Wilkey. He is one of the toughest runners and he's one of the best passers in the area."
The senior quarterback, a 6-foor-3, 215-pounder, led the Lions in rushing with 57 yards and completed 12 of 18 passes with one interception. That was a tipped pass picked off by C.J. Brown, icing the visitors' victory with 1:23 left to play.
It was Soddy-Daisy's turn to win in a series that has alternated winners since a 37-21 Red Bank victory in 2007, but the final verdict was up in the air for the first 46 minutes. There were seven lead changes with the final points coming with 6:32 to play.
Standifer's second scoring toss, a 6-yarder to Brown, put the Trojans ahead to stay 32-27.
Red Bank grabbed the early lead on a 5-yard Wilkey run, but Blue countered later in the first period and then the Trojans grabbed the lead by tackling the Lions' punter in the end zone. They increased the gap to five on Taylor Fox's 25-yard field goal two minutes into the second quarter, but Red Bank went back ahead on Demetrius Williams' 1-yard run.
Down 20-14 entering the second half, Red Bank went up 21-20 on a 7-yard run by Darrius Akridge, but Blue eclipsed the lead on an a 6-yard run six minutes later. Wilkey's last successful heroics came on a 3-yard run with 0:41 left in the third period, but Soddy-Daisy got the deciding score on the Standifer pass to Brown.
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 ...