DUNLAP, Tenn. — It might only have been a jamboree, but Jacob Saylors knows the importance of not having to hear trash talk.
Marion County's all-state senior broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run on the third play against county rival Whitwell in a 7-0 decision during Friday's annual Sequatchie Valley jamboree.
"These things don't really matter, but in this county people talk and we wanted to take care of business against them," said Saylors, who also helped the Warriors whip Grundy County 21-7 in a later quarter by scoring on a 15-yard run and intercepting a pass.
Marion, which has played in three consecutive Class 2A state title games, was impressive in its two wins and was the only team to win both its quarters. Nick Capps helped Marion hold off Whitwell when he batted away a pass in the end zone, and two plays later Jace Williamson forced a fumble to help the Warriors preserve the win.
"We just have to keep focusing on ourselves, on us getting better every day," Saylors added. "Tonight it just felt amazing to finally be back out on the field again."
-Sequatchie County 7, Silverdale Baptist Academy 0: In the first quarter of action, Adrin Jackson scored on a 1-yard run, capping an eight-play drive. The Seahawks drove to the Indians' 10 but were held on downs late.
-Bledsoe County 7, Lookout Valley 7: Colby Rogers scored on a 4-yard sweep to the left, but Lookout Valley answered on the next play when Zane Howard connected across the middle with Riley Phillips for a 70-yard touchdown.
Phillips, an all-district shortstop, hadn't played football in five years before he was coaxed into coming out by Yellow Jackets first-year coach Lance Rorex, who is also his baseball coach.
The Yellow Jackets also finished in a scoreless tie with Silverdale Baptist later in the night. Freshman defensive back Corey Talley intercepted a pass in the end zone to stop a Seahawks drive late.
"I was really happy with the way our guys came out and competed," Rorex said. "Tonight was the first step for our guys to show people that we're headed in the right direction.
"We've got a ton of inexperienced guys, so every positive play helps build confidence. That long touchdown pass we had, that really gave our kids some energy."
Bledsoe also wound up tying host Sequatchie County 7-7 in the final period of the night.
-South Pittsburg 20, Grundy County 0: On the second snap of the third quarter, junior fullback Garrett Raulston got loose for a 53-yard touchdown run.
That set the tone as the Pirates poured it on, with Sawyer Kelley added a 23-yard scoring run and Brayden Sanders returning an interception 55 yards for a late score. Freshman Hunter Frame ran for 27 yards on three carries for the Pirates.
-Marion County 21, Grundy County 7: After the Yellow Jackets scored on a Hagen Cash run to begin the sixth quarter, Marion wasted little time establishing dominance as Saylors' scoring run was followed by an Isaiah Sampson touchdown pass to Capps and Jax Rollins punched in the final score on a 7-yard run that was set up by Saylors' interception and 30-yard return.
-Whitwell 2, South Pittsburg 0: After the teams traded punts, South Pittsburg's Cade Kennemore intercepted a deep pass inside the Pirates' 5 yard line. But three plays later, Pirates quarterback Jaylyn Hubbard was thrown for a safety.
The Pirates and Tigers will meet Oct. 13 in South Pittsburg in a game that will likely decide the Region 3-1A championship.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.