SEQUATCHIE COUNTY 21, EAST RIDGE 14 (OT)
The star: Sequatchie’s Ethan Barger ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 45 yards and another score.
Up next: The Indians will host Alcoa in a Class 3A semifinal.
DUNLAP, Tenn. — For the first time in school history, Sequatchie County is 13 games into a football season without a loss.
The Indians, though, were pushed to the limit by East Ridge before pulling out a 21-14 playoff victory in overtime Friday night.
"What I wanted for these guys was to get No. 13," Sequatchie coach Adam Caine said. "But those guys are some tough hombres."
The win came finally, but more from the defense than a heralded offensive unit. And the game wasn't decided until Kyle Cates batted a pass in the air that was picked off by Adam Pickett.
"I'm disappointed. Our guys played their tails off," said Pioneers coach Tim James. "The defense played awesome and created turnovers. Offensively, we struggled."
The Pioneers were limited to 132 rushing yards, 108 of that coming from senior tailback Traneil Moore.
On the other side, quarterback Ethan Barker was the Indians' most effective workhorse, gaining 105 yards and scoring two of their touchdowns. He also accounted for the third score on a 25-yard pass to Austin Stevens.
"He kind of put us on his back there in the second half," Caine said of the bulky senior.
Sequatchie came close to ending it on the final play of regulation when Jonathan Joffre picked off an Eric Bennett pass, but he was dragged down at the East Ridge 6 after a 57-yard return.
East Ridge, which missed a first-period field-goal try, scored first on a 21-yard pass from Bennett to Alonzo Russell after the Pioneers defense recovered a fumble deep in Sequatchie territory.
The Indians, who missed a scoring chance early with their first fumble, went ahead 7-6 on Barker's pass to Stevens, and it stayed that way until early in the fourth quarter.
Barker's 4-yard run 94 seconds into the final period stretched a precarious lead to 14-6, but East Ridge answered immediately on Moore's 4-yard run.
East Ridge won the overtime toss and deferred and Barker scored on the first play in OT. That set the stage for the heroics from Cates and Pickett.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/Wardgossett.