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Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / McCallie football players and coaches review plays on a sideline monitor during a game at Georgia power Calhoun on Aug. 27. McCallie improved to 3-0 by winning its region opener Friday at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville.

McCallie needed a dramatic fourth-quarter rally Friday night but found a way to knock off the league opponent it has struggled with most.

The top-ranked Blue Tornado scored two touchdowns in the game's final 9:46 to rally from an 11-point deficit on the road and earn a 34-31 Division II-AAA East/Middle Region win over fourth-ranked Montgomery Bell Academy.

Although it was their second straight win over the Big Red (1-2, 0-1), it was only the second win in the past 16 meetings and the first time McCallie won on MBA's home field in Nashville. The most recent time the teams had played was in the 2019 state championship game, a 28-7 McCallie win.

"Our guys showed a lot of guts," McCallie coach Ralph Potter said. "We didn't play our best, but a lot of that had to do with how good MBA is.

"We got two key stops at the end of the game and a couple of big drives when we needed them, and I'm just very proud of the way we played against some adverse circumstances."

(READ MORE: Final scores and photos from Friday night's Chattanooga-area high school football games)

With McCalie trailing 31-20, senior quarterback William Riddle connected with Xavier Gaillardetz on a 65-yard touchdown pass with 9:46 remaining. After a defensive stand, the Blue Tornado (3-0, 1-0) put together the winning drive, with Ontario Price scoring on a 4-yard run with 2:46 to go.

"There were times, particularly on our last drive, where even when we didn't block very well, Ontario made things happen," Potter said.

Price finished with 165 rushing yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion run, but the rest of the team combined for minus-16 yards on the ground.

Riddle completed 15 of 24 passes for 216 yards and two scores, with Gaillardetz catching seven of those passes for 163 yards. Ollie Carter led the Blue Tornado defense with six solo tackles, and John McAdams had five solo stops and three assists.

Knoxville Catholic 31, Baylor 21: The Fighting Irish outscored Baylor 10-0 in the second half to snap a halftime tie and secure the DII-AAA East/Middle Region win. Keondre Jarmon put the Irish in front with a 20-yard scoring run and Brock Taylor added a 38-yard field goal for the final margin.

Knox Catholic (3-0, 1-0)) was 4-for-4 in red-zone scoring chances and also scored on a 100-yard interception return by Sam O'Leary. Jarmon finished with 113 rushing yards and two scores and Jayden Neal threw for 162 yards.

Baylor (2-1, 0-1) was just 3-of-13 on third-down conversions, was 0-for-2 on fourth downand was outgained 360-270 in total yards. Red Raiders running back Caleb Hampton ran 27 times for 200 yards, and Trey McDonald led the defense with eight tackles.

Central 18, Soddy-Daisy 7: The Purple Pounders got a pair of big-play scores in the first half, then put the game away with another in the third quarter for the Region 3-4A win. Central's first touchdown was a 20-yard first-quarter connection from Ronye Watson to Tyi Mosley, followed by an 89-yard Donovan Smith scoring run.

After the Trojans cut Central's lead to 12-7 on an 67-yard touchdown pass from Slater Hickman to Eli Coffelt with 9:11 to go in the third quarter, the Pounders answered one minute later with an 82-yard Watson-to-Smith touchdown connection.

Watson finished with 263 passing yards for Central, which outgained the Trojans 440-197 in total offense. Hickman threw for 146 yards, and Coffelt had seven catches for 100 yards for the Trojans.

Rhea County 34, McMinn County 20: The Golden Eagles outscored the Cherokees 20-6 in the second half, including a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Region 4-5A win.

Rhea County ran for 356 yards, led by Ethan Davis with 203 and two touchdowns, including a 79-yard sprint, and Briley Mayberry added 102 and a score. Jayden Miller threw for 140 and ran for 65 for the Cherokees.

Grace Academy 54, Providence Christian 6: The Eagles scored 34 first-half points and rolled up 576 yards of total offense in cruising to a 4-0 start to their first season competing in eight-man football. Quarterback Cooper Knecht threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 170 and another score and also led the defense with five solo tackles (two for loss) and two interceptions. Caleb Adams caught four passes for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Other area scores:

Signal Mountain 17, McMinn Central 15

Walker Valley 48, Ooltewah 7

Kingston 45, Brainerd 6

Knoxville Webb 44, Notre Dame 0

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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