THS captures Coffee Pot with 48-8 victory

From the very start, Tullahoma ensured that it would be retaining the Coffee Pot, dominating in a 48-8 home win over Coffee County on Friday.

On the defensive end, the Wildcats held Coffee County in check the entire night, surrendering just 73 yards and five first downs. In fact, it took until the final drive of the game for the Red Raiders to cross over into positive yardage.

After being held to -4 offensive yards, Coffee County pieced together a four-play, 77-yard drive that ended the shutout with 17 seconds left in the contest. Collin Ward scored the Red Raiders’ lone touchdown on a 1-yard run, and then Andrew Mahaffey reached the end zone on the 2-point attempt, to make the score 48-8.

“I thought our defense played outstanding,” said THS Head Coach John Olive. “I know at halftime they [Coffee County] had just one first down and that was off of a penalty. Even when we played it down [with substitutions] in the third quarter, our defense was still playing well. I think our defense has the chance to be a good defense.”

On the offensive end, the Wildcats (1-1) put up 27 points in the first quarter alone and then added a touchdown in each of the three remaining periods. Briasen Corn did the bulk of the scoring for Tullahoma, rushing for 43 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries.

Kobe Burks also put up a pair of scores for the Wildcats, returning a punt 65 yards and then adding a 45-yard score on a reverse play in the third period. Hunter Palmer added another touchdown for Tullahoma, reaching the end zone on a 17-yard scamper.

“I want our guys to enjoy tonight. You don’t see many Coffee Pot games that get that one-sided,” Olive said. “We’ve been on the other end of that a couple of years ago. It was nice to be on the giving end this time.”

After forcing Coffee County to go three-and-out on its first possession, it took the Wildcats just three plays to reach the end zone. Corn put up the first score for Tullahoma, rushing 3 yards into the end zone. That touchdown was set up after quarterback Ben Fulton hit Burks for a 39-yard strike, giving THS the ball at the Red Raiders’ 6-yard line.

“We thought that we would catch them trying to play us man-to-man and we weren’t sure if they would man on Kobe or man on Matthew Ross,” Olive said. “The safety cheated toward Matt Ross and it was what we had worked on and what we were hoping for, getting Kobe one-on-one.”

Race Marin followed by booting in the extra point for Tullahoma, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 9:02 left in the first quarter.

It took just three plays for Tullahoma to regain possession. Wildcats’ cornerback Quintin Howard picked off Coffee County quarterback Conner Shemwell, giving the Wildcats possession at the Red Raider 22-yard line.

Following an offside penalty on Coffee County, Palmer broke free to his right for a 17-yard touchdown for Tullahoma with 7:12 left in the opening period. The Wildcats went for 2, but saw Fulton’s pass fall to the ground as Tullahoma held a 13-0 lead.

Burks broke free for the Wildcats’ next score after the THS defense forced back-to-back three-and-outs. On a punt return, Burks was able to break several tackles, reaching the end zone from 65 yards away with 2:52 left in the period. Marin connected on the extra point, giving Tullahoma a 20-0 advantage.

Two plays later, Coffee County coughed up the football again, this time as CJ Anthony fumbled, and Ross was there for the Wildcat recovery at the Red Raiders’ 20-yard line. Corn capped off the short two-play drive with a 10-yard run and Marin made the PAT, giving the Wildcats a 27-0 lead with 1:18 remaining in the opening period.

Corn added his final touchdown of the game with 8 minutes left in the second quarter, aided by another great punt return that gave THS possession at the Red Raiders’ 19-yard line. Two plays later, Corn reached the end zone, scoring from 16 yards out. Matt Marcel connected on the extra point attempt, giving Tullahoma a 34-0 lead that it took into halftime.

It took just two plays in the third quarter for the Wildcats to extend their lead. Fulton first hit Burks for a 12-yard gain, before Burks got the handoff on a reverse, breaking free for a 45-yard score. Marcel once again drilled the PAT and Tullahoma took a 41-0 lead with 10:53 remaining in the third quarter.

“People don’t realize until you play against him [Burks], just how hard he is to tackle,” Olive said. “He just has a lot of natural instincts on where to break and he’s a very good athlete, so that helps. Once he figures out where to go, he’s got enough speed and explosion to get through there.”

The remainder of the game would be played with a continuous running clock, a mercy rule that’s triggered once a team grabs a 35-point advantage. With just over two minutes left to play in the contest, Tullahoma added its final touchdown of the game.

After gaining possession at Coffee County’s 46-yard line, Chavez Harden first broke free for a 21-yard run. Jakobe Thomas followed with a 25-yard score and Marin nailed the extra point attempt, giving the Wildcats a 48-0 advantage with 2:23 left on the clock.

Coffee County followed by avoiding the shutout with a quick four-play, 77-yard drive that was capped off by Ward.

Both Tullahoma and Coffee County (0-2) will open region play next week. Tullahoma will travel to Lewisburg on Friday to take on Marshall County. Coffee County will head to Murfreesboro to face Blackman. Kickoff for both Friday games is scheduled for 7 p.m.