Wildcats head to Franklin County

Tullahoma teammates Jakobe Thomas and Race Marin (3) celebrate after the Wildcats defeated Marshall County on Aug. 31. The Wildcats will get to play their second-straight road game, traveling to Franklin County on Friday. 

After notching a 14-13 road win over Marshall County last week, Tullahoma will be looking to extend its winning streak to three games, for the first time since 2014, when it heads to Franklin County on Friday.

Clinging to a one-point lead late against Marshall County, Tullahoma (2-1, 1-0) survived the Tigers' comeback attempt on Aug. 31. With 23 seconds remaining in the contest, Wildcats’ safety Kaleb Stroop intercepted a pass, sealing the Region 4-4A victory for his team, giving Marshall County its first region loss since 2014.

After winning its first two games of the season, Franklin County (2-1, 0-1) fell to Page 20-12 last week. Despite the loss, the Rebels were able to generate plenty of yards against Patriots, collecting 354 yards of offense.

The majority of those yards came from the air, as quarterback Neyland Jean completed 18 of his 35 pass attempts for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while being intercepted once. The sophomore also ran for 10 carries for 43 yards.

Jean’s leading target on the night was senior Kevin Johnson, who reeled in seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown. Michael Fuqua brought in three catches for 58 yards and a score. Mason Mitchell also had four receptions for 43 yards.

In three games this year, Jean has proven that he can both use his legs and arm to generate offense. Jean has completed 55 percent of his passes on the year, as 39 of his 71 attempts have been on target, connecting for six touchdowns, while being intercepted three times.

Jean is also Franklin County’s leading rusher on the season, carrying the ball 27 times for 170 yards, an average of 56.7 yards per contest. Fuqua has 110 yards on 24 attempts for the Rebels.

Dakota Waggoner has run the ball 12 times for 93 yards and a touchdown, while Riley Ingle has carried the ball 17 times for two touchdowns on the season.

The Rebels have also been stout on the defensive end, allowing opponents to put up an average of just 18 points per contest. The amount points allowed by Franklin County’s defense came in a 36-21 victory at LaVergne on Aug. 24.

Tullahoma has also been impressive on the defensive end, including limiting Marshall County to 260 yards of total offense on Aug. 31. Prior to that game, the Wildcats surrendered just 73 total yards in a 48-8 win over Coffee County on Aug. 24.

Against the Tigers though, Tullahoma was able to shut down the big plays, as Marshall County passed for just 55 yards, while rushing for 205 more yards. Javarria Rucker led the way for Marshall County, rushing for 102 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

Tullahoma had just 254 yards of offense, but came through when it mattered most, picking up key conversions. It was the Wildcats who struck first last Friday night, opening the game with a touchdown drive as quarterback Ben Fulton hit running back Briasen Corn for a 33-yard touchdown reception.

Rucker put Marshall County in front 7-6 late in the third quarter, but Tullahoma scored when Kobe Burks rushed for a 2-yard touchdown. The Wildcats followed with a successful 2-point attempt as Fulton hit Hunter Palmer, giving their team a 14-7 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

Marshall County answered right back with points as Rucker rushed for a 14-yard touchdown. However, the point after touchdown kick was missed, and Tullahoma still led 14-13.

From there, Tullahoma was able to drain the clock, marching down into Marshall County territory. The Wildcats turned the ball over on downs with a 1:40 left on the clock, giving the Tigers’ possession at its 16-yard line. Tullahoma ended the game shortly as Stroop intercepted a pass with 23 seconds remaining on the clock.

On the season, Corn has been the workhorse for the Wildcats, carrying the ball 46 times for 251 yards and five rushing touchdowns on top his 33-yard scoring reception.

Behind center, Fulton has completed 33 of his 51 pass opportunities for 330 yards and a touchdown while being intercepted twice. Fulton’s leading targets have been Burks, Palmer and Race Marin, each brining in seven receptions, while Matthew Ross has six catches.

Kickoff for Friday night’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. For those unable to make it to the contest, it will be broadcast on 101.5 FM. Tickets can be pre-purchased at the main office at Tullahoma High School until 1 p.m.