It wasn’t pretty, but with stout defensive play, the Tullahoma Middle School football team was able to hang on to the Coffee Cup, notching a 14-6 home victory over Coffee County on Monday night.
With 1:06 left in the contest, and his team clinging to an 8-6 advantage, Tullahoma quarterback Evan Tomlin sealed the victory for the Wildcats with the game’s only offensive touchdown.
On second-and-13 from his team’s 27-yard line, Tomlin took the snap, nearly fumbling the ball. However, Tomlin regained ball control, taking off to avoid the snap. It was then that Tomlin was able to find a seam down the left side of the field, breaking free for a 73-yard touchdown run, giving the Wildcats a 14-6 advantage.
Following the score, Tullahoma elected to go for a 2-point conversion to try to seal the game, but that try was unsuccessful, leaving the contest a one-score matchup.
Coffee County followed by taking over at its 36-yard line with 1 minute remaining on the clock. From there, the Red Raiders were able to march the ball down to the Wildcats’ 30-yard line with one second remaining in the contest.
On the game’s final play, Coffee County quarterback Jackson Shemwell was intercepted by Faizon Snipes, sealing the victory for the Wildcats. That was Shemwell’s second interception of the night, as he finished the game completing nine of his 16 pass attempts for 78 yards.
The first interception that Shemwell threw led to Tullahoma taking an advantage that it never surrendered. In the second quarter, Tomlin was able to make a leaping pick, and then raced 83 yards down the left side of the field, giving the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with 6:54 remaining in the first half.
Tullahoma elected to go for the 2-point conversion attempt and was successful. Tomlin was able to connect with Charlie Dodson on the conversion, giving the Wildcats an 8-0 advantage.
On its ensuing drive, Coffee County once again turned the ball over, this time on a fumble, as Colby Tucker gave the Wildcats possession at their own 27-yard line. After picking up a first down, Tullahoma turned the ball over as well, a mistake that lead to the Red Raiders getting points.
On second down, Tomlin was stripped, as Coffee County defensive lineman Blayne Myers ripped the ball away, getting possession and running 41 yards for the touchdown. The Red Raiders were then unsuccessful on their 2-point attempt. Running back Cole Pippenger was stopped for a 2-yard loss, and the Wildcats led 8-6 with 2:17 remaining in the second quarter.
Despite the lone touchdown, Coffee County had two prime opportunities to score points late in Monday’s matchup. However, both times, the Red Raiders were turned away for points.
In the final quarter, Tomlin had a pass intercepted by Ethan Hargrove, who gave Coffee County possession at the Wildcats’ 8-yard line. After a 1-yard gain on first down, the Red Raiders lost a combined 8 yards on the next two plays, forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal attempt. That kick by Hargrove sailed left with 5:30 left on the clock.
After stopping Tullahoma to a quick three-and-out on its next offensive series, Coffee County took over at the Wildcats’ 47-yard line. Two plays later, the Red Raiders had marched down to Tullahoma’s 22-yard line.
On back-to-back plays, Coffee County went backwards, losing a combined eight yards. Shemwell’s next two pass attempts were incomplete, and the Red Raiders turned the ball over on downs, giving Tullahoma possession at its 30-yard line.
Two plays later, Tomlin put the game away for Tullahoma with his 73-yard touchdown run. Tomlin finished with 81 rushing yards on six attempts, while completing two of his seven pass attempts for 30 yards, while being intercepted once.
In total, the Wildcats finished with 144 yards on the night, rushing for 114 yards in the victory. Coffee County totaled 158 yards in the loss, rushing for 80 yards and passing for another 78 yards.
Tullahoma will have more than a week before its next game, as it travels to Lewisburg on Aug. 22. Kickoff of that game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.