While Tullahoma’s initial homecoming date against Spring Hill was cancelled, the Wildcats will get an upgrade in opponent as they will now head to No. 4 ranked Beech this Friday night.
The Buccaneers (3-1) are coming off of a 28-14 win over Hendersonville last week. That win propelled Beech to No. 4 in the Class 5A rankings after it was previously in seventh place.
Tullahoma comes into Friday night’s ballgame as the No. 3 team in the class 4A polls. The Wildcats will receive a win in the region standings this week due to Spring Hill not being able to participate. Tullahoma’s overall record will be affected by Friday night’s outcome.
The Wildcats are 4-0 on the season and fresh off of a 41-7 win at Franklin County last week. In that victory, Tullahoma’s defense dominated after the offense struggled to the move the ball early.
After giving up a touchdown to the Rebels, the Wildcats followed with 41 unanswered points, including four second-half touchdowns.
Those scores in the final two quarters came after the Wildcats’ defense forced four turnovers. Tullahoma recovered three fumbles and then added an interception as Adam Owens picked off a Rebels’ pass.
Franklin County was limited to just 126 yards on the night, 70 of which came through the air. The Wildcats held the Rebels to just 56 rushing yards.
So far this season, Tullahoma’s defense has yet to surrender 300 yards to a team and has been particularly solid against the run. The Wildcats have been able to bottle up their opponent’s rushing attack, limiting them to 73 ground yards, including holding Marshall County to a season low 35 yards on Sept. 4.
On the opposite side of the ball, Tullahoma is averaging nearly 334 yards per contest, the majority of which have come from the run. The Wildcats’ rush attack is averaging 236 yards per game, including a season-high 273 yards against Marshall County.
Tullahoma came close to matching that performance against the Tigers and put up 262 yards against Franklin County last Friday. Jakobe Thomas led the way for the Wildcats, running for 69 yards on six carries and a touchdown.
Thomas had three total touchdowns in Tullahoma’s win Friday. Aside from running for a score, the senior added a 7-yard touchdown reception, before returning a punt 45 yards for a score.
Those three touchdowns by Thomas Friday brings him to a total of 11 on the year as he leads the Wildcats in scores. Thomas has run for 367 yards and six touchdowns on 46 carries, while adding 84 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He has now scored two touchdowns on special teams.
Quarterback Ryan Scott also added three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ win over the Rebels. After Scott and Thomas connected for a score, Scott then found Brody Melton for a 27-yard touchdown. Before the ballgame concluded, Scott added a 28-yard rushing score.
The junior quarterback finished with 62 rushing yards in the Wildcats’ victory. Scott only completed three of his 11 pass attempts for 48 yards and two touchdowns, while being intercepted once.
On the season, Scott has been on target for 21 of his 41 opportunities for 403 yards and seven touchdowns. He has been intercepted three times on the year.
The Buccaneers mirror Tullahoma’s approach on the offensive end as the majority of their yards have come on the ground. In Beech’s victory over Hendersonville last Friday, the Buccaneers ran for 304 yards.
Tysean Jefferson led the way for Beech, running for 178 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Patrick Hill added 99 yards and a score on 11 attempts.
Adrian Johnson also ran for two touchdowns and was used in short-yardage situations for the Bucs. The senior carried the ball just four times for 12 yards.
Through four games this year, Jefferson leads Beech with 575 yards on 81 carries and eight touchdowns. The senior tailback is averaging nearly 144 rushing yards per game.
Johnson has put up five touchdowns on the year and has 22 carries for 132 yards. Hill has put up two scores and 225 yards on 43 attempts.
Because the Buccaneer’s rushing attack has been so dominant, quarterback Xaviere Jones hasn’t had to do much behind center. So far this season, Jones has completed just 16 of his 28 pass attempts for 283 yards and a touchdown, while being intercepted five times.
Against Hendersonville, Jones just completed one of his five pass attempts for five yards.
Beech’s defense has created six turnovers on the year, including having three in last week’s victory. Sophomore JP Courtney reeled in an interception against Hendersonville, while Gage Stewart and Kanon Lewis each recovered a fumble.
For those who can’t make it to this Friday night’s contest in Hendersonville, it will be shown live on the LightTube Sports Network, channel 23. An audio-only feed will be available on LightTube’s YouTube page, and the game will also be broadcast on 93.9 The Duck.
Tickets will not be available at the box office at Beech this Friday. Fans will need to pre-purchase their tickets online by visiting gofan.co starting on Wednesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.