By ZACH BIRDSONG
For the second-straight week, Tullahoma was able to celebrate a preseason win, combining to defeat Warren County 26-6 in McMinnville on Friday.
Playing just half of a football game, the Wildcats’ varsity team put up a pair of scores, both by running back Amauri Burks, notching a 14-6 victory. The THS junior varsity team stifled Warren County, as quarterback Ben Fulton scored two touchdowns in the 12-0 win.
Tullahoma was scheduled to close out the preseason with a final scrimmage at home on Tuesday night. In their annual Fan Feast contest, the Wildcats will play host to Columbia, with the freshman game kicking off about 6 p.m. and the rest of the scrimmage starting at around 6:30 p.m.
Varsity wins 14-6
After a sluggish start offensively for Tullahoma forced a punt, Warren County looked poised to take the early lead, marching the ball down to the Wildcats’ 6-yard line. However, the Pioneers coughed up possession as Burks recovered the ball at his team’s own 7-yard line.
Three plays later, Tullahoma found pay dirt for the first time on the night. Quarterback Nic Barstad hit Race Marin on an out pass on the left side of the field and Marin raced 65 yards down to the Warren County 28-yard line.
Burks sprung loose for his first score just two plays later, reaching the end zone from 26 yards out. Chase Farler followed with the point after touchdown (PAT), making it a 7-0 contest with 7:38 remaining in the first quarter.
Forcing Warren County into a three-and-out, followed by a turnover on down on its next two series, Tullahoma then added to its lead early in the second period. Burks capped off a nine-play, 65-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, making it 14-0 with 8:17 remaining in the first half.
The Pioneers’ lone score of the game came in the following series as they put together a five-play, 75-yard drive, punching it into the end zone with 6:20 left second quarter. Tullahoma forced Warren County into a three-and-out on its next offensive series, holding onto possession for the remainder of the period.
After surrendering 34 points to Walker Valley in a scrimmage on July 28, the Wildcats’ buckled down and allowed 154 yards to the Pioneers on Friday. Tullahoma picked up 228 yards of offense against Warren County.
Barstad was solid running the Wildcats’ offense, completing nine of his 15 pass attempts for 143 yards. Marin was the recipient of three of those passes for 103 yards. John Moore also reeled in three catches for 25 yards.
Burks led the Wildcats’ rushing attack, finishing the night with 73 yards on 10 rushing attempts and his two scores. Barstad added 10 yards on three carries.
JV blanks Warren County 12-0
In limited playing time on Friday night, the Tullahoma junior varsity team dominated Warren County, forcing three turnovers, while punching it into the end zone twice, for the easy 12-0 victory.
The Pioneers fumbled on their opening possession as Bailey Clark was there to scoop up the ball for Tullahoma. Kameron Halliburton followed with 22 yards on four carries before Fulton kept possession, scoring from 4 yards out.
Jacob Floyd intercepted a Warren County pass while Cooper Lawson recovered a fumble for the Wildcats. However, with each team receiving 10 plays of offense, the Pioneers held onto the football.
Tullahoma took over at its 30-yard line and quickly marched downfield for a seven-play touchdown drive. Jared Sebourn had a pair of runs for 18 yards, followed by a 14-yard run by Casson Buckner. Fulton capped off the drive with a 6-yard run, making it 12-0.
The Wildcats finished with just 83 yards of offense, 77 of which came on the ground. Fulton had 23 yards and two scores on his three carries.
Freshman teams finish scoreless
Each freshman team had a chance to receive playing time on Friday night, but the squads played to a scoreless draw. Tullahoma was scheduled to travel to Fayetteville on Saturday, taking part in the Ninth Grade Academy Jamboree. As of press time, the result of that contest was unavailable.