MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Both teams were scoring at will until the Blackman Blaze started putting the defensive pressure on Signal Mountain quarterback Reese Phillips.
The No. 9-ranked Class 6A Blaze had three interceptions in the fourth quarter, returning two for touchdowns, to pull away from the No. 1-ranked Class 4A Eagles 72-35 on homecoming.
The Eagles (3-1) had a streak of 17 victories snapped with the loss.
"We didn't get a decent stop all night tonight, and that's not good," Signal Mountain coach Bill Price said. "For three full quarters, it was a good football game. After that, they just pulled away. We had to throw the ball."
The Blaze had nine offensive possessions in the game and scored each time.
"Every time they scored, we answered back," Blackman coach Philip Shadowens said. "It was just a great high school game to watch. As a fan, if you can't enjoy that type of football game, I'm not sure if you can ever enjoy one."
The Blaze (3-1) jumped to a 10-0 lead by scoring on their first two possessions, and the teams exchanged touchdowns in the second and third quarters as Blackman's lead fluctuated between 10 and three points.
The Blaze scored on their first possession when I'Tavius Mathers took a handoff and darted 22 yards into the end zone with nine minutes left in the first quarter. The Ole Miss commitment had two touchdowns and ran for 319 yards.
"Coach Shad told me to put everything I have on the line," Mathers said. "So I gave it all. I got sick in the first half with a migraine, but I was able to overcome it."
Blackman kicker Jacob Irvine drilled a 33-yard field goal on Blackman's next possession.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tim McClendon went 93 yards to get the Eagles on the board.
The Blaze made it 21-7 when Dee Mathers scored on a 1-yard plunge on their next possession.
Then the shootout was on. The Eagles scored, the Blaze answered. Reese Phillips threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Will Queen. The Blaze answered with a drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyler Strickland.
The Eagles kept it going on their first possession of the second half. Phillips hooked up with Queen for their second touchdown, this one covering 30 yards.
The Blaze answered once again and exchanged touchdowns with Signal Mountain in the third quarter.
"I thought our kids battled and fought hard, and we beat a really really good football team," said Shadowens. "There was no time to rest. The score was misleading."
Blackman's Mason Baer was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after being knocked unconscious. His status is unknown.