It wasn't easy, even requiring two late defensive stands, but Bradley Central's football team avenged losses in last year's first round as well as earlier this season by holding off Farragut 17-14 on Friday night to advance to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs for the first time in three years.
Aiden McClary's 7-yard touchdown run with just more than five minutes remaining put the Bears (8-3) ahead, but they would need a fourth-down stop at their 30-yard line, followed by a strip by Camden Creighton and a fumble recovery by Tito Williams at their 20 with 18 seconds remaining to seal the road win.
"It was a slugfest, and both teams played really good defense," Bears coach Damon Floyd said. "That's what the playoffs are all about, battles like that, and it showed what this group has in them. We've got really good senior leadership and some guys who will go out and fight for each other.
The Bears, who will travel again next week to second-ranked Maryville, were led by Javon Burke's 33 carries for 225 yards and a touchdown, and he caught five passes for 71 yards. McClary was 9-of-15 passing for 108 yards as the Bears rolled up 361 total yards, outrushing the Admirals 253-87.
McMinn County 28, Bearden 7: One day after learning he had been named a Mr. Football semifinalist, senior running back Jalen Hunt proved why, carrying the ball 35 times for 291 yards and three touchdowns, including a 52-yard sprint. The Cherokees, who will travel to Dobyns-Bennett in 6A's second round, outgained Bearden 434-182 in total yards, and Jalen James had two interceptions as well as five catches for 68 yards.
Dobyns-Bennett 42, Cleveland 35: Despite three touchdown catches and more than 100 receiving yards from Destun Thomas, the Blue Raiders were unable to win their 6A game. Klay McGowan scored touchdowns for Cleveland (5-6) on a catch and a kickoff return, and Drew Lambert threw four touchdown passes.
Oak Ridge 30, Soddy-Daisy 7: Isaac Barnes scored the lone touchdown for the Trojans (3-8) on a 26-yard run as Soddy-Daisy lost on the road in the Class 5A playoffs.
Brainerd 14, Smith County 13 (OT): After a KaDarius Price touchdown run, senior quarterback Xiyeer Lattimore added the winning 2-point conversion run for the Panthers. Brainerd, which earned its first playoff win since 2009, will travel to Red Bank in the second round. Those teams did not get to play their Region 3-3A meeting during the regular season due to the Lions being in a COVID-19 quarantine.
Allen Ware led the Panthers (7-4) on defense with eight solo tackles, five stops for loss and an interception, while Price finished with 11 carries for 82 yards and scored both touchdowns for Brained.
Bledsoe County 48, Cascade 21: The Warriors had 32 plays for 308 yards in the first half while holding Cascade to 21 for 23 and taking a 41-0 halftime lead.
Dylan Robeck led the way with 15 carries for 134 yards and four touchdowns, and Cadillac Siever added nine carries for 119 yards, two touchdowns, a 2-point run and two fumble recoveries on defense. Bledsoe County (11-0), which also got 81 passing yards and a touchdown from Harmon Keith, will host Trousdale County (9-2) in Class 2A's second round.
Marion County 35, Westmoreland 17: Taye Hutchins ran 25 times for 243 yards and two scores, helping the Warriors snap a 14-all halftime tie to pull away in the second half. Marion County (7-2) will travel to Watertown (10-1), which defeated Tellico Plains 63-14 in 2A's first round.
After Westmoreland had taken a three-point lead in the third quarter, Marion answered with three touchdowns on runs of 13 and 58 yards by Hutchins as well as a 17-yarder by Alex Condra, who finished with 89 rushing yards and a pair of scores. The Warriors gained all of their 385 offensive yards on the ground.
South Pittsburg 52, Jo Byrns 0: In his first game back from injury since the season opener, junior running back DeAndre Kelly ran five times for 112 yards and three touchdowns, including sprints of 42 and 36, and Hunter Frame added 61 rushing yards and four scores as the Pirates jumped out to a 35-0 lead and cruised in Class 1A's opening round.
South Pittsburg (10-1) outgained the Red Devils 376-102 in total yards, and the defense had three takeaways. The Pirates will host Monterey, which defeated Sale Creek 61-22.
Chattanooga Christian School 56, Knoxville Grace 42: The Chargers won at Grace for the second time this season to advance to the Division II-AA quarterfinals. Riding running backs Jamichael Baxter and Tink Scott, CCS built a 28-7 halftime lead and a 35-7 advantage early in the third quarter for its fifth victory in eight games. The Chargers, who will play at Christ Presbyterian Academy next week, ran the ball 45 times for 543 yards, led by Baxter's 23 carries for 246 and Scott's 14 for 232, with each scoring four times.
"It's hard to beat these guys at their place once in a season, much less twice," said Chargers coach Mark Mariakis. "We live to play another day."
Other area scores: Upperman 43, Signal Mountain 41 (OT), Elizabethton 56, East Ridge 34; Clay County 21, Copper Basin 0; Monterey 61, Sale Creek 22; Gordonsville 49, Whitwell 0; Trousdale County 38, Tyner 0; Christian Academy of Knoxville 52, Boyd Buchanan 12; CPA 50, Silverdale Baptist 14.