DECATUR, Tenn. — Friday night's Class 2A playoff matchup between the third-ranked Meigs County Tigers and sixth-ranked South Greene had all the makings of a classic between what appeared to be two evenly matched teams.
Only one of them was up to the task.
Aaron Swafford rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass as the hosts dismantled the Rebels 39-7.
Will Meadows added 108 yards on the ground and a score for Meigs County (11-1), which in next week's quarterfinals will host fellow Region 2 program Oneida (8-4), a 14-12 winner over Hampton (9-3).
"I felt like we won the line of scrimmage tonight," Tigers coach Jason Fitzgerald said. "Yeah, we have Swafford and Meadows and receivers who can go, but it's November and you're going to have to be able to run the football and stop the run. You have to be able to do that to win in the playoffs in the state of Tennessee."
Meigs County received the opening kickoff, and it wasn't long before Swafford — the reigning Class 2A Mr. Football award winner — took control. After Meadows' 33-yard run put the Tigers near the red zone, Swafford took it in from 24 yards out and ran in the 2-point conversion.
The Tigers forced South Greene (10-2) to punt on the ensuing series, and senior Canyon Grant came through untouched to block the kick, recover the ball and set his team up for another offensive opportunity.
"That's the first punt I've ever blocked," said Grant, who also had a fumble recovery later in the quarter. "We noticed on film that he punted it from 6 to 7 yards, and I didn't even get blocked. It makes me happy because we go to work every week and are ready to go out there and hit them in the mouth."
Swafford connected with Cameron Huckabey for an 11-yard touchdown pass a few plays later, then hit Jackson Fritts for the 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-0.
After Meadows plunged in from 5 yards early in the second quarter, Swafford added to his highlight reel later in the period. Taking the ball around the left end, the future Navy Midshipman made his way from his sideline across the field, leaving would-be tacklers in his wake before diving for the pylon on the opposite side of the field for a 39-yard score.
His 2-point pass to Grant capped a dominant first half with Meigs up 32-0.
"Our O-line came out great and whipped them up front," Swafford said. "We know if we come out and play our game, there aren't many teams in the state that can beat us, and we did that. Now I'm going to go home, get some rest and watch Navy beat Notre Dame tomorrow."
Meigs County, which came into the night giving up just less than seven points per game, held South Greene to 201 yards and forced three turnovers.
Contact Kevin Llewallyn at email@example.com.