Soddy-Daisy quarterback Hunter Maynor said all the right things.
Of course, after a night when he could do no wrong, that was to be expected.
Maynor threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for the Trojans to lead a stunning 25-7 win over neighborhood rival Hixson. The game was postponed to Saturday night after Friday's storms delayed the season opener for both squads.
Maynor, a junior, was expected to tutor under Brett Standifer this year until the senior Standifer transferred to Bradley Central in the offseason, leaving Maynor the man in charge of the offense.
"Brett is a good friend of mine, and I know he is going to have a great season," Maynor said. "He taught me a lot last year. All I was trying to do was step up and do what the coaches asked of me."
If they asked him to complete 16 of 20 passes and direct a Trojans team that won just three games a year ago over an experienced Wildcats squad many figure to make a long playoff run, then mission accomplished.
Justin Barnes saw a tale of two halves in his coaching debut for the Trojans and definitely liked what he saw in his squad the final two quarters.
"I knew we didn't have many plays in the first half and I told them to be patient and continue to do what we practiced," Barnes said. "I couldn't be prouder of the bunch, especially Hunter. He was one cool customer back there under some duress."
The Trojans ran a no-huddle offense the entire game, but the offense sat most of the first half as Hixson ran 34 plays to Soddy-Daisy's 14. The Wildcats managed just one score, though, and that shortcoming haunted them.
The big momentum shift came when Maynor scrambled for his life before lofting a pass to Levi Thornton, who got behind the defense, caught it and raced the remaining 65 yards to tie it at 7 on an 85-yard play. The Trojans immediately forced a fumble and scored on Caleb Jordan's 6-yard run a little over a minute later, so they led 13-7 heading into the final stanza.
The Trojans defense really clamped down on Hixson's sterling Gill Brown, who completed 15 of 18 passes for the game but only for 137 yards after getting 95 of that the first half. Hixson had two first downs in the final half and could not get Maynor and Co. off the field. Maynor completed a fourth-down pass of 9 yards to Jake Flinn to make it 19-7 with 9:46 left, and Caleb Watson's 4-yard run closed the scoring at 4:02.
Jordan caught two passes for 99 yards, but it was sophomore Tre Carter who was the go-to guy for Maynor, hauling in five passes for 78 yards, all of them first-down catches.
Soddy-Daisy hosts Red Bank, Barnes' alma mater, this Friday. Things don't get any easier for Hixson, which travels to South Pittsburg.
Contact James Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.