By ZACH BIRDSONG
Giles County quarterback Jordan Tucker and running back R’kell Reed teamed up to run for 319 and four touchdowns in the first half alone as the Bobcats buried Tullahoma 35-14, ending the Wildcats’ chances of winning a contest this season.
Tullahoma finishes the season 0-10 and 0-5 against Region 4-4A opponents. With the victory, Giles County (3-7, 2-3) advanced to the postseason, which will get underway next week. As of press time, the Bobcats’ opponent was not known.
Tucker led the Giles County rushing attack that picked up 438 yards on the ground on Friday. Tucker carried the ball 24 times for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Reed scored two touchdowns and picked up 177 yards on 23 attempts.
After the Bobcats’ opening drive stalled, they put up the first points of the contest with 5:48 left in the first quarter. Tucker broke down the sideline and cut back to the middle of the field, scoring on a 74-yard touchdown run to put his team in front 7-0.
Both teams traded a possession before Tullahoma evened the score with 10:33 left before halftime. Running back Dylan McElhaney closed out a 67-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run and Chase Farler knocked home the point after touchdown kick (PAT) to tie the game at 7.
Giles County immediately regained control of the contest, scoring on a 65-yard, four-play drive. Tucker capped the drive off with a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:11 left in the second quarter.
After starting from its own 35-yard line on its next series, Tullahoma turned the ball over for the first time on the night. On a carry, wide receiver Emanual Williams fumbled and Giles County recovered at the Wildcats’ 48-yard line.
Three plays later, the Bobcats added to their lead. Reed ran the ball twice, picking up 35 yards, before Tucker scored on an 8-yard run with 7:56 left in the first half to put his team in front 21-7.
Tullahoma was forced to punt on its following drive and Giles County then put up the final points of the first half. Reed capped off a six-play, 69-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run with 4:34 left in the second quarter, to put the Bobcats in front 28-7.
In the second half, Tullahoma drove the down to the Bobcats’ 16-yard line, but the drive stalled there as the Wildcats elected to go for it on fourth down and were unsuccessful.
Giles County put up its final points of the contest on the next series on an 84-yard, 11-play drive. Tucker scored from 1 yard out as the Bobcats extended their lead to 35-7 with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
With 1:35 remaining in the contest, Tullahoma put up the final points of the ballgame. After quarterback Eli Grow hit wide receiver Chase Dixon on a 51-yard pass play, Dylan Pearson scored on a 5-yard run. Farler made the PAT kick to make it a 35-14 contest.
The Wildcats finished the contest with 339 total yards, with 272 of those coming through the air. Grow completed 21 of 35 pass attempts on the night.
Receivers Matthew Meadows and Dixon were the recipients of the majority of those passes on the night. Meadows hauled in five catches for 89 yards. In his first game back since injuring his leg against Marshall County on Sept. 4, Dixon hauled in three catches for 91 yards on the night.
Tullahoma’s game was the final matchup for 17 players, who were recognized before kickoff during senior night ceremonies. Those seniors include: Bobby Simpson, McElhaney, Grow, Casson Buckner, Jonathan Fournier, Dylan Pearson, Chase Hawkersmith, Andrew Amacher, Will Thomas, James Parrill, Nathan Ledford, John York, Austin Rainey, Rhett Pearson, Dalton Baker, Omonetay Elliott and Jay Coop.