Red Bank football coach Ted Gatewood greeted his team in the south end zone of Signal Mountain's stadium and said that the Lions' 42-7 win Friday night was more about what they did on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Josiah Featherstone completely agreed.
"Coach asked me to do some extra conditioning because I was going to have be ready," he said.
Check and check. Featherstone's extra reps allowed the hiccup-quick junior to dodge and dart his way to career highs of 204 yards and four rushing touchdowns in just three quarters.
As impressive as the overall numbers were, Featherstone's back-breaking 75-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds left in the first half was huge in the Region 3-4A game.
"The margin of error is always very slim when you play a team as good as Red Bank," Eagles coach Josh Roberts said. "They did a lot of good things, but we made some critical mistakes too."
The ninth-ranked Lions (3-1, 2-0) were amazingly efficient, scoring on six of their first seven possessions, and they converted two turnovers by the Eagles (2-3, 1-2) into touchdowns.
"Every week is a step," Gatewood said, "and the key is we have to play like we are behind — play with urgency."
The hosts battled defensively early until Featherstone delivered his Mike Tyson-like knockout blow.
Battling late, Signal Mountain freshman backup quarterback Colton Johnston engineered his team's lone touchdown drive, keyed by a 65-yard catch-and-run by star Blake Wolfard, who finished with seven reception for 143 yards. The drive was capped by Jack Perry's 6-yard run.
McCallie 29, Brentwood Academy 15: Ja'Von McMahan led a dominating Blue Tornado rushing attack with 30 carries for 244 yards and three touchdowns, including a 43-yarder in the fourth quarter to seal the win in the Division II-AAA East Region opener for both teams.
In a game televised nationally on ESPNU, top-ranked McCallie (5-0) outrushed the Eagles 334-51, and senior quarterback Jay St-Hilaire added 112 passing yards and a score. McCallie sophomore Keeshawn Tabuteau accounted for 111 total yards and scored his team's first touchdown on a 58-yard reception.
George McIntyre threw for 232 yards for the Eagles (1-4) but was intercepted three times and sacked twice.
Baylor 48, Christian Brothers 9: Whit Muschamp threw four touchdown passes and Max LeBlanc caught a pair of scores as DII-AAA's second-ranked Red Raiders rolled. Cody Davenport rushed for two scores as Baylor (4-1) scored seven touchdowns in as many possessions, while Grady Joyner had an interception and C.J. Wyeller recovered a fumble to lead the defense against Christian Brothers (3-2).
Boyd Buchanan 48, Silverdale Baptist 0: The Buccaneers intercepted four passes, returning two for touchowns while building a 28-0 lead by halftime for the DII-AA East Region win. Alto Moore scored Boyd Buchanan's first touchdown with an 18-yard interception return, and Tim Jones later covered 50 yards to add another pick-six for the fourth-ranked Bucs (5-0, 2-0)
Kaiden Bates led the defense with five tackles and Moore finished with four solo stops, while Houston Hicks threw for 127 yards and two scores to lead the Boyd Buchanan offense. Silverdale Baptist (0-5, 0-3) was led by Caleb Greco's 80 rushing yards.
Hixson 31, Loudon 27: The Wildcats held on for a wild Region 3-4A win thanks to a pair of long kickoff returns for touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Hixson (3-2, 2-0) built a 10-0 halftime lead thanks to Lawuan Hughley's 28-yard interception return for a score.
After the Redskins closed within three, Hughley responded by bringing the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards for a touchdown. Loudon (4-1, 2-1) pulled within three again later in the quarter, but once more the Wildcats countered immediately as Koko Kendricks returned the kickoff 90 yards to push the lead back to 10 as the teams combined for 41 fourth-quarter points.
Kendricks finished with 82 rushing yards and another touchdown, and he also had five tackles as part of a defense led by David Gibson's six solo tackles. The first-half interception return for a touchdown and the two special teams scores in the fourth lifted Hixson to the win despite being outgained 427-136 in total yards.
Marion County 45, Sequatchie County 0: Marion's defense limited the visiting Indians to just 34 total yards, including minus-16 rushing as Taylor Scharber and Ashton Martin each had two sacks.
The Warriors (5-0), ranked fifth in Class 2A, scored all the points they needed in the first half for the win against 3A's ninth-ranked Sequatchie (3-2).
Tilton Pickett completed 13 of 20 passes for 267 yards and a touchdown to Sam Pickett, who finished with seven catches for 144 yards. Marion had 10 ball carriers account for 32 rushes and 195 yards, led by Brody Leonard's 74 yards and two scores.
South Pittsburg 74, Lookout Valley 0: Kamden Wellington threw for 114 yards and three touchdowns as Class 1A's top-ranked Pirates (5-0, 2-0 Region 3-1A) rolled up 313 yards on just 24 offensive plays and limited the visiting Yellow Jackets (0-5, 0-2) to 48 total yards. AJ Wallace had a pair of touchdown receptions, JaMychal Buckner and Ky'Saun Powell each ran for two scores, and Racash Kelley caught one touchdown pass and had a 56-yard punt return for another score.
McMinn Central 44, Sweetwater 10: Ayden Plemons threw for a school-record 490 yards and six touchdowns, with Gabe Massingale catching 11 of his passes for 333 yards — also a school record — and four scores as the Chargers (4-1, 2-0 Region 3-3A) routed Sweetwater (2-3, 0-2).
Grace Academy 28, King's Academy 21: Clayton Gunther threw for 229 of the Golden Eagles' 275 total yards and had three touchdown passes, Boone Perry caught five passes for 77 yards and Andrew Huggins led the defense with seven tackles.
Other area scores:
Bledsoe County 42, Wartburg 20
Central 28, Soddy-Daisy 14
Chattanooga Prep 61, Copper Basin 6
East Hamilton 39, East Ridge 35
Knoxville Grace 28, Notre Dame 17
McMinn County 14, Oak Ridge 3
Meigs County 33, Stone Memorial 25
Oneida 21, Polk County 17
Providence Christian 20, Grundy County 14
Sequoyah 31, Howard 6
Walker Valley 35, Ooltewah 0
Compiled by Jay Greeson and Stephen Hargis. Contact them at email@example.com.