Jay Sims never gave up, not after a season-opening shutout loss to Boyd-Buchanan, not entering Chattanooga Christian's season finale at Bledsoe County and nowhere in between.
"We have a leadership breakfast every Monday morning at 7 and he's always there even though he's driving from the central time zone every day," CCS coach Barry Loyal said. "He has been one of the veterans getting our kids going week in and week out. You go into the season with expectations and the later in the season you get the more chances of playing Week 11 keep disappearing. That hasn't been the case for him."
Sims was at his best Friday in his final high school football game, scoring five touchdowns including the game-winner with 0:25 left in a 60-56 victory. He earned Times Free Press Player of the Week honors with 158 yards and four touchdowns rushing, a 90-yard kickoff return for another score and nine tackles.
"It wasn't like he was just out there on offense. He was on special teams. He had a couple of pass receptions and then he had four or five solo tackles and four or five assists on defense," Loyal said.
The Chargers needed everything they could get out of their players in a win that resulted in the school-record 60 points.
"There was a lot of back-and-forth, obviously. We missed some tackles early on and they made some big plays offensively. They scored 48 on us in the first half," Loyal said. "We got some stops in the second half that gave us a chance.
"It was as exciting game as you'll ever seen and I told some of their guys after the game, this [Bledsoe-CCS] game should be on ESPN every year. Last year we missed a field goal as time was running out and lost 42-41 and the year before that the final score was 45-42."
Sims' career may not be over. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder is visiting several smaller schools such as Birmingham Southern.
"He's just a really good high school football player and I think if he plays at the next level it will be someplace where he can fit in academically and athletically," Loyal said.
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 ...