DUNLAP, Tenn. - Bill Price got another district championship, but the Signal Mountain football coach's biggest win might have been avoiding a victory dousing in the final minute.
While the title-clincher didn't come till the final game, Signal won the 7-AA championship, rolling past Sequatchie County 41-9.
The Eagles won with a ball-control offense and a stingy and opportunistic defense against the Indians' pass-happy first-half offense and back-to-the veer second-half offense. The clear majority of Sequatchie's offensive yardage came in the second half.
"The defense played great; played well all night. We were loaded up to stop the run and playing man-to-man," Price said.
The Eagles left the field at halftime with a 21-2 advantage, but the fiery Price was steamed and took his team to Sequatchie's practice field rather than going into the locker room.
"We missed some opportunities and then we had to make some adjustments when [Hunter] Van Dyken (hamstring) got hurt," he said.
The Eagles also had four first-half pass-interference penalties and finished the night with eight penalties for 100 yards.
However, the defense also chipped in with a touchdown when Garrett Hensley picked off a pass and returned it 93 yards to put the Eagles up 34-2 with three minutes left in the third period.
Signal had scoring drives of 20 and 75 yards on its first two possessions. James McClellan, who finished with 181 yards on 21 carries, capped the first with a 1-yard run, and Diamez Franklin, who had 87 rushing yards, got the second on a 19-yard pass from Jack Teter.
McClellan added another 1-yard run late with 3:36 left in the second quarter before the Eagles gave up a safety. They recovered a fumble, but it was in their own end zone on a botched pass play.
Kaleb Menzel got Signal's final two rushing TDs. In a 101-yard rushing night, he had scoring runs of 6 and 1 yard.
Sequatchie's touchdown came early in the fourth quarter. Moving the ball with the option, the Indians swept downfield and Colby Reed, the option quarterback, scored from a yard out with 10:32 left in the game.
"We played good enough. Sequatchie is a hard team to prepare for and they have definitely improved," Price said. "So now we wait to see who we play, and then it's one game at a time, one week at a time."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.