Capping off the preseason with its annual Fan Feast Scrimmage, the Tullahoma High School football team ended things on a solid note, picking up a 19-6 home win over Columbia Central on Wednesday night.
Fan Feast was originally scheduled for Tuesday night, but was pushed to Wednesday due to weather. During the final preseason scrimmage, the two teams played three 12-minute quarters, with the final period using a 20-minute continuous running clock.
After a scoreless first quarter, Tullahoma grabbed the lead less than a minute into the second period, and never trailed again from that point.
On third-and-2, Wildcats’ quarterback Ben Fulton was able to hit Hunter Palmer for a quick pass on the left side of the field. Palmer was able to break a near tackle, finding a seam down and getting free for a 60-yard touchdown with 11:04 remaining in the second quarter.
Justus Chadwick came in to connect on the point after touchdown kick attempt, giving Tullahoma a 7-0 advantage.
Columbia answered with a score just before halftime, cutting into its deficit. Antwan Moore capped off a five-play, 54-yard drive, rushing for a 12-yard touchdown. However, on the extra-point attempt, Ernesto Diaz’s kick attempt sailed right, as Tullahoma still led 7-6 with 1:26 left before halftime.
The Wildcats attempted to get back on the board, after Quintin Howard returned the ensuing kickoff to Tullahoma’s 40-yard line. After marching down to the Lions’ 32-yard line, the Wildcats elected to attempt a 49-yard field goal attempt. Chadwick missed the kick, as Tullahoma took a one-point edge into the break.
After each team traded possessions, the Wildcats’ forced a turnover on Columbia’s ensuing offensive possession. On third down, Tullahoma defensive back Hunter Jewell intercepted a pass from Lions’ quarterback Brady McCandless, being downed at Columbia’s 49-yard line.
One play later, Fulton again connected with Palmer for a score. Like the first time the pair struck for a score, Fulton was able to hit Palmer on a short route, as the Wildcats’ wide receiver was able to break downfield for a 49-yard touchdown.
On the extra-point attempt, Chadwick’s kick was no good, hitting off the upright, and Tullahoma led 13-6 with 7:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Fulton ended his night after that drive, completing nine of his 12 pass attempts for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Palmer was the recipient of both scores, as he tallied 116 receiving yards on four catches.
Before the night was through, the Wildcats added one more touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Taking over at quarterback, Ryan Scott led Tullahoma downfield for an 11-play, 87-yard scoring drive.
Brandon Painter put up the Wildcats’ final touchdown, rushing for a 4-yard touchdown run. No extra point attempts were taken in the fourth quarter, and Tullahoma led 19-6.
Scott connected on all four of his pass attempts in the one drive he played. Scott passed for 37 yards, hitting Brody Melton twice for 26 yards.
The Wildcats forced one final turnover before the night was through. Late in the fourth quarter, Columbia running back Ryan Patterson fumbled, and Tullahoma linebacker Bo Nunley was there for the recovery.
Columbia dominated ball possession on Wednesday, but Tullahoma’s defense held the Lions to 195 yards in the victory. The majority of Columbia’s yards came on the ground, as the Lions rushed for 117 yards, passing for just 78 yards.
Tullahoma totaled 281 yards on the night, most of which came through the air. The Wildcats totaled 193 passing yards, while combining for 88 rushing yards.
Tullahoma will open the regular season on Thursday with a trip to Shelbyville Central. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.