Friday night already has a prize-fight feel to it as Tullahoma gets set to host Nolensville for homecoming with the winning team clinching its seat in the Class 4-A playoffs.
Both Tullahoma and Nolensville enter Friday night’s matchup with a 2-0 record in Region 4-4A play. In a six-team league, a third region win automatically earns a squad a berth into the playoffs.
The Knights (4-2, 2-0) are coming off of a 27-19 loss to Brentwood last week in a non-region contest. Nolensville has already picked up region wins over Spring Hill and Lawrence County. The Knights defeated Spring Hill 41-6 on Aug. 31, before downing Lawrence County 42-14 on Sept. 14.
Against Brentwood, Nolensville struggled early to fully sustain drives resulting in two field goals despite having three red-zone opportunities in the first half. The Bruins capitalized throwing for a pair of touchdowns, one from 65 yards out and another from 51 yards away, before adding a field goal to take a 17-6 advantage into halftime.
Brentwood added a pair of scores in the second half to extend its lead to 27-6, before Nolensville attempted to fight back. After starting the majority of the first half, the Knights pulled quarterback Brandon Wharton II as a precautionary measure. The senior had been dealing with injuries earlier this season.
Stepping in to fill Wharton’s shoes was Ryder Galardi, who threw for a touchdown to help get the Knights’ offense going. Galardi was able to connect with tight end Tim Stayskal for a 50-yard score. Running back Colton Dooley followed with a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Bruins’ lead down to 27-19 with nine minutes left in the contest.
Brentwood’s defense tightened from that point as Nolensville’s offense stalled from there as the Bruins held on for the victory.
Tullahoma (5-1, 2-0) also earned a non-region victory, traveling to Fayetteville in a 21-10 victory over Lincoln County. The Wildcats previously picked up two Region 4-4A wins earlier this year, first defeating Marshall County 14-13 on Aug. 31, before downing Spring Hill 27-7 on Sept. 14.
After the Falcons grabbed a 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats answered with 21-straight points, ultimately sealing the contest.
Briasen Corn ran for a pair of 6-yard touchdowns before the first half concluded, giving Tullahoma a 14-3 edge heading into the break. Corn finished the night with 114 yards on 25 carries and his two scores. On the season, Corn has rushed for 618 yards on 116 carries for seven touchdowns.
Coming out of the second half, quarterback Ben Fulton was able to hit Kobe Burks for a 47-yard strike midway through the third quarter. Freshman Justus Chadwick was perfect on the night on extra-point kicks, helping give Tullahoma a 21-3 edge in the third quarter.
Fulton completed eight of his 11 pass attempts on the night for 125 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted once. On the season, Fulton has completed 66 percent of his throws with 68 of his 103 pass attempts landing on target for 867 yards and eight touchdowns while being intercepted four times.
This year, Fulton has primarily used three different receivers as Race Marin, Hunter Palmer and Burks all have 13 catches on the season. Marin has 212 yards and a touchdown on the year, while Burks has 180 and a score, while Palmer has 145 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive end, Tullahoma continues to play soundly, only allowing the Falcons to pick up 248 yards. In their last five games, the Wildcats’ defense has allowed an average of just under 220 yards per contest.
Kickoff for Friday night’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. For those unable to make the contest, it will be broadcast locally on 101.5 FM.