His top-ranked and unbeaten team was up by four points at halftime, but Grant Reynolds had seen enough to know what was coming in the final two quarters.
The coach told his Boyd-Buchanan team that somebody was going to have to come up with a big play in the fourth quarter because Donelson Christian Academy wasn't going to go away, fold up or lie down.
With little more than a minute left in the game, Reynolds still was waiting and wanting that big play. DCA's Wildcats were 19 yards from a tying touchdown.
On fourth-and-1, Reynolds called "pinch-pop stunt" and Malik Brewer, the Bucs' 6-foot-3, 320-pound tackle, answered the call. He ripped through the line and drove DCA quarterback Will Reddick back a yard, preserving the Bucs' 24-17 victory.
"We pinch the tackles and Malik came through clean," Reynolds said.
"My job is basically to take out two or three guys," Brewer said. "We take a step to the left, but that was a team tackle. It was all of our guys doing what we were supposed to do."
Reynolds was spot on with his halftime declaration, but he knew well his history in a series that the Bucs now lead 6-3.
"This is always a close game, and DCA is a great football team. The played their hearts out," he said.
And while he was delighted to walk off the field with the Bucs now 6-0, he promised a salty week of practice during the open date week beginning Monday.
"Mentally, we weren't very well prepared and the offense didn't put the ball in the end zone -- didn't put them away -- when we had opportunities," Reynolds said. "It was like we were on a treadmill. We weren't very well prepared and that's on me, and that's something we'll address next week."
His usually stiff defense might have given up just 17 points -- a season high -- but the Bucs allowed DCA to control the clock and limit the offensive opportunities.
"We all made mistakes, and I'll take the blame for that," Reynolds said, "but we can't play with swelled heads. We have got to be hungry and humble."
The Bucs played their best in the third quarter, getting a Caleb Antwine field goal and a 28-yard TD run from John Hale to go ahead 24-10.
Quarterback Jim Cardwell was the Bucs' leading rusher, picking up 132 yards on 18 carries.
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 ...