By ZACH BIRDSONG
Even at 14 late in the fourth quarter during Monday night’s annual intrasquad matchup, the Tullahoma Red Storm defeated the White Bolts, 20-14, by scoring on the game’s final play.
On second-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Storm quarterback Payton Howard connected with Kaleb Stroop in the end zone for the touchdown. The scrimmage concluded the spring for the Tullahoma High School football team, which will begin summer practices on May 30.
After a defensive first half that saw just seven points scored, both offenses picked up in the second half, combining for 27 points. The lone first-half score came for the Storm, after Howard hit Matthew Meadows for a 38-yard strike. Matt Marcel, who kicked for both teams, knocked in the point after touchdown kick.
The Bolts drove down the field on their final drive of the second half, but couldn’t connect for points. After driving down the Storm’s 27-yard line, the drive stalled there as Marcel came in to attempt a 44-yard field goal try. The kick was blocked and the Storm took its 7-0 lead into halftime.
After being limited to just 56 passing yards in the first two quarters, the Storm more than doubled that yardage on the first play of the second half. Howard hit Race Marin for a 70-yard strike down the middle of the field, who turned the catch into points. Marcel followed by nailing the PAT to put the Storm in front 14-0.
Five plays later, the Bolts found the end zone for the first time on the night. On a quarterback keeper, Nic Barstad broke loose down the left side of the field, rushing for the 33-yard touchdown. Marcel added the PAT, cutting the score to 14-7.
After picking up a first down on their next drive, the Storm were forced to give the ball up as the drive stalled and the Bolts took over from their 15-yard line. From there, they marched downfield for a 12-play, 85-yard touchdown drive.
On third-and-goal, Briasen Corn punched the ball into the end zone from 9 yards out for the Bolts. Marcel knocked in the PAT, evening the score at 14.
However, that tie was short-lived as the Storm reached the end zone on the final drive of the game. The big play that put the Storm in scoring position came as Howard connected with Marin for a 40-yard pass, moving the ball down to the Bolts’ 24-yard line. Marin had just two catches on the night for 110 yards and a touchdown.
After a pair of short runs by Howard on keepers, running back Kameron Haliburton broke for a 13-yard scamper, but was short of the goal line by mere inches. After a high snap, Howard was sacked for a 4-yard loss. One play later, the Storm found pay dirt as Howard hit Stroop for the game-winning score.
The Storm totaled 260 yards on the night, including 171 of those coming through the air. Howard completed eight of his 13 pass attempts, throwing for three touchdowns.
Halliburton and Samari Layne combined to rush for 62 yards on the night. Haliburton rushed for 34 yards on four carries, while Layne added 28 yards on four attempts.
The Bolts put up 253 yards of offense on the night. Quarterbacks Ben Fulton and Barstad combined for 136 passing yards. Fulton connected on three of his nine pass attempts for 93 yards while Barstad completed five of his nine attempts for 43 yards.
Barstad also added 41 yards on the ground on two attempts, including his 33-yard touchdown run. Corn added 68 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.