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Sequatchie County quarterback Ethan Barker gets back Notre Dame's Trea Johnson for a Indian touchdown. The Notre Dame Fightin Irish visited the Sequatchie County Indians in the second round of the TSSAA football playoffs on November 11, 2016.

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Indians move to 12-0 with 56-28 win over Irish

SEQUATCHIE COUNTY 56, NOTRE DAME 28

The Star: Indians quarterback Ethan Barker passed for 93 yards and a touchdown and rushed 13 times for 73 yards.

Up next: Sequatchie County will host East Ridge, the lone Region 3-3A team left in the playoffs.

DUNLAP, Tenn. — It has been 26 years since the folks in Sequatchie County were still celebrating football this late in November.

Their Indians hadn't been 12-0 since 1990. That's past tense now, though, as they notched win No. 12 of 2016 with a payback 56-28 victory over visiting Notre Dame Friday.

Sequatchie County, which was embarrassed by the Fighting Irish in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, will remain at home next week to host East Ridge. The Pioneers went on the road for the second straight week and this time upset Region 3-3A champion Red Bank in two overtimes.

Notre Dame finished the year 7-5.

"Our O-line dominated up front and our defense was fairly dominant the whole game," said Sequatchie running back Austin Stevens, who ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns.

The Indians' offensive line was bruising all night.

"I knew they were a fantastic football team and if we couldn't win in the trenches we'd have a hard time. That's what they do. They pound you and pound you and pound you," said Irish coach Charles Fant. "That's going to be a really tough football team to beat."

Sequatchie County rolled up 283 rushing yards and quarterback Ethan Barker completed four of five passes for another 93 yards and two scores.

"The offensive line — we talked about it all year," Indians coach Adam Caine said. "These are senior kids that know what to do. Notre Dame presents a lot of fronts with stunts and blitzes, but the kids were calm and knew who they were supposed to block."

The Irish led early, sweeping 65 yards on their opening drive, capping it with a 15-yard Andrew Banks run.

That lead was short-lived, and one they never would regain.

Sequatchie evened the score on Barker's 4-yard run, then went up 14-7 on a 19-yard run from Stevens. The Irish tied it on a 30-yard pass from Cameron Wynn to Justyn Baker, but that was as close to a lead as they'd get.

Sequatchie countered with a Stevens 8-yard burst and a 30-yard pass from Barker to Alec Hudson to take a 28-14 advantage into halftime.

Hudson produced a near back-breaker on the kickoff to open the second half. He bobbled it but then scooped it up at the 1 and raced back 99 yards.

"I wasn't expecting it," Caine said. "We usually come out in the third quarter and try to get a good grinding drive, but I'll take it. Alec played his butt off. He caught that hitch-and-go for a TD, intercepted a pass (at the goal line seconds before the first half ended) and then had that kickoff return, and that return was huge."

The Indians then settled even more into their plow-and-run. Hunter Davenport scored a pair of touchdowns and Stevens added the final TD with 3:11 left.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

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