Tullahoma dominated in its regular season finale on Friday, picking up a 35-0 home win over Maplewood on senior night.
The Wildcats totaled 347 yards of offense, while limiting Maplewood to 113 yards, including just 14 passing yards. Tullahoma also forced five turnovers, including three fumbles, while Jakobe Thomas also intercepted two passes.
There was only one area where Tullahoma didn’t dominate, and that was in penalties. The Wildcats were flagged six times for 75 yards, while Maplewood had 11 penalties for 80 yards.
“Our defense pitched a shutout and if we didn’t have two facemasks and a running into punter, our defensive would have played about as perfect as we could play,” said THS Head Coach John Olive. “We got some interceptions, got a fumble and the kickoff team comes up with a couple of turnovers.
“We just have to stop killing ourselves. You can’t win with a bunch of penalties and you can’t win with turnovers. That’s my biggest thing. I thought we made a big improvement last week at Giles County and then it seems like we’ve regressed again.”
After stopping Maplewood on fourth down on its first offensive drive, the Wildcats capitalized with a 67-yard touchdown drive. Quarterback Ben Fulton found Jake Hollandsworth downfield, as the senior wide out raced to the end zone from 54 yards out.
Matt Marcel followed by making the extra point, giving Tullahoma a 7-0 lead with 5:20 remaining in the opening quarter. Marcel was perfect on his PAT kicks all night.
This marks the fourth time in two weeks that Tullahoma has been able to connect on touchdown passes of over 35 yards. Against Giles County on Oct. 24, the Wildcats had three long touchdowns, before Hollandsworth brought in his 36-yard reception on Friday, the first of the season for the senior wide out.
“Last week, we went into that game thinking that we could do some things to take some shots against [Giles]. Tonight, we really thought that they would be covering Jake and we thought that we were going to try to pass it to somebody underneath. They didn’t cover Jake at all and that was great for him.”
Once again, the Wildcats’ defense stopped Maplewood on fourth down, as Tullahoma took over at its 35-yard line. This time Fulton was able to hit with Thomas for a 36-yard touchdown, moving the score to 14-0 with 10:37 left before halftime.
Tullahoma would take that lead into the break, before putting up points on its first possession of the second half. Thomas added his second touchdown of the night, rushing for an 11-yard score with 3:26 remaining in the third period, making the score 21-0.
Thomas also scored the final two touchdowns of the game for Tullahoma. With 9:14 left in the ball game, the tailback scored from 21 yards out on a pass from Fulton, upping the Wildcats’ lead to 28-0.
A defensive play led to Tullahoma’s final score of the game. As Maplewood was marching the ball downfield, Thomas was able to intercept a pass and return it 60 yards for a touchdown, making the score 35-0 with 6:56 remaining in the contest.
“I think Jakobe is growing up,” Olive said. “I talked to him on the sidelines a little bit. He’s shown up the last two ballgames and he is playing up to his potential. He’s making big plays that this team needs him to be able to make in order for us to try to make a run in these playoffs.”
Thomas finished with four touchdowns, including three on the offensive end. The junior hauled in three catches for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while rushing for 73 yards and a score on 16 carries.
Fulton completed 10 of his 16 pass attempts on the night for 181 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, the Wildcats also ran for 166 yards.
With the regular season concluded, Tullahoma (7-3, 3-2) finishes as the third seed in the Region4-4A standings. The Wildcats will get the playoffs underway on Friday as it heads to DeKalb County for a 7 p.m. kickoff.