Kentucky champs rally past McCallie Blue Tornado

Kentucky champs rally past McCallie Blue Tornado

September 21st, 2013 By James Beach in Sports - Preps

Bowling Green coach Kevin Wallace had plenty of praise for the McCallie Blue Tornado after his squad's 40-36 come-from-behind victory Friday night at Spears Stadium. But it was what his team did late in the game that was perhaps the biggest compliment.

"That is as good a football team as any we have played," Wallace said. "We have some good teams in Kentucky, but we don't face many like that. And we certainly don't play any that fast."^

The two-time defending Kentucky state champs and winners of 33 consecutive games came into the contest as the top-ranked squad in their state and left with a healthy amount of respect for the Tornado.^

The outcome wasn't decided until the Green Purples (4-0) decided to get away from their bread-and-butter passing game in trying to keep McCallie's speed harmless on the sideline. Despite throwing for 286 yards, Bowling Green trailed 36-27 late in the third period.^

After returning a kickoff 99 yards to pull within 36-33 and then forcing the Blue to punt, Bowling Green went to its ground attack in a 14-play, 99-yard drive powered by 13 runs. Blue Tisdale, who scored three touchdowns in the game, had every one of the carries, before quarterback Devin Hayes hit Nacarius Fant on a 13-yard score to put the Purples up 40-36 with 9:45 left^.

McCallie resumed its pace and was primed for the go-ahead score inside the 15 before an interception gave their guests the ball back, and they were able to run the final 7:38 off the clock on 13 straight rushes.^

"Adversity is a good thing," said McCallie coach Ralph Potter. "You have to fail sometimes to succeed, and I think if this team will believe in itself we have a chance to do some great things. Tonight can be a positive for us."^

It was certainly a positive for kick returner Jeffrey Coleman, who returned two kickoffs for scores (95 and 93 yards) to electrify the home crowd. But the Green Purples played like champs in countering with 473 yards of offense on 82 plays. McCallie countered with just 41 plays and 272 yards.^

The Tornado had trouble finding a solution for Fant, who caught 10 passes for 181 yards (two TDs) to go with the 99-yard TD return, and when they slowed the passing game late, Tisdale racked up 199 rushing yards on 31 carries.^

"We have played a really tough schedule, and I think it will pay dividends," Potter added. "This si the way you learn with young kids, and I think we found out everything you need to know about our team tonight."

McCallie will travel to Tennessee's top-ranked team, Ensworth, next week and will do so with a lot of confidence despite two straight losses to highly ranked squads.

JaVaughn Craig was 8-of-12 passing for 127 yards. Andrew Busby had two scores and C.J. Fritz had a 48-yard TD as the two teams played the game at a video-game pace in the first and third quarters. The two combined for five TDs in the first 12 minutes and then scored four TDs within a five-minute stretch in the third.

Contact James Beach at sports@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.