DECATUR, Tenn. — The Meigs County High School football team used a patient, balanced attack to get by Hampton in the TSSAA Class 2A playoffs Friday night.
The 49-34 home win keeps the Tigers unbeaten at 11-0 with South Greene (12-0) — a 35-3 winner over Rockwood on Friday — set to visit in next week's quarterfinals.
Hampton (9-3) used its bruising ground game to put the game's first points on the board as quarterback Conor Jones capped the opening drive with a 10-yard run. Meigs County responded with a 4-yard touchdown run from Will Meadows, but the Bulldogs again pulled out front, scoring this time on a 53-yard trick pass from Aidan Vines to Jonathan Greenwell.
The Tigers aimed to incorporate their own stout running game, but the Bulldogs sniffed it out early, making things tough on state Mr. Football finalist Will Meadows. Quarterback Logan Carroll helped his team adjust with efficiency through the air, finishing 8-of-11 passing for 124 yards.
"We were prepared for a hard-fought game, knowing both teams are really physical," Carroll said. "They were keying in on the run at the start, but once we started throwing the rock around, things started to open up. Overall, our guys did a great job blocking tonight, too."
Meigs closed the second quarter with two touchdown runs — a 15-yarder by Carroll and a 16-yarder by Meadows that gave the Tigers their first lead at 21-14 with 1:05 remaining in the half.
The home team then took advantage of getting the first crack after halftime, scoring on Carroll's pass to Cameron Huckabey to make it 21 straight points.
"We got one right before the half, then got another one coming out of halftime, and we really got the momentum back," Meigs County coach Jason Fitzgerald said. "Then our depth showed in the second half."
Hampton closed the gap on Morgan Lyons' 8-yard run, but the Tigers answered with two more touchdowns. The first was a short scamper from Carroll, and Meadows polished off the second drive after an 84-yard run by Carroll put the Tigers on the 1-yard line.
Carroll amassed 204 yards on the ground, toting it 20 times, and Meadows added 111 yards on 17 carries.
Hampton tried to claw back into the game with 4:56 remaining in the final period with a 15-yard pass, but one play and 11 seconds later, Meadows was in the end zone, finishing up a 53-yard run to make it 49-27. Hampton scored with just seven seconds to play.
"We got second last year, and we want it back," said Carroll, referring to the Tigers' state runner-up finish. "Everyone is focused and really has that chip (on their shoulder). To be moving on and playing again next week means everything."
Contact Idris Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.