South Pittsburg's loss in title game comes down to final play

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / South Pittsburg defensive coordinator Brad Waggoner consoles players after the Pirates lost 20-14 to Fayetteville in the TSSAA Class 1A BlueCross Bowl on Friday at Tennessee Tech.

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - With the season and a state championship on the line, Fayetteville put its football fate in the hands of a freshman.

Facing fourth-and-2 at the South Pittsburg 29-yard line late in the fourth quarter of a tie game Friday evening, freshman running back K.J. Jackson took a handoff and sprinted untouched for the go-ahead touchdown with just 3:08 remaining in the Class 1A BlueCross Bowl at Tennessee Tech's Tucker Stadium.

Fighting the clock and a stingy defense, South Pittsburg took the ensuing possession to the Fayetteville 19, but Brayden Sanders' pass into the end zone fell incomplete as the Tigers held on to win 20-14 and celebrate the program's first TSSAA state title.

"No excuses. We just didn't get it done," Pirates coach Vic Grider said. "We struggled offensively to put drives together, and that's highly unusual for us.