In the days leading up to the first round of the TSSAA playoffs, the talk around town was that the teams from Region 8-6A had a real chance to sweep their brethren from Region 7 on Friday.
The sweep did indeed happen — but not without some late drama three hours to the northeast. And no one was more interested in that outcome than Houston.
The Mustangs, seeded second, got done rather early against visiting Dickson County, as they took control of the game early and coasted to a 47-0 victory.
Chandler Day completed 10 of 17 passes for 146 yards and threw touchdowns to four different receivers as the Mustangs improved to 9-2.
“I thought we did what we needed to do,” said coach James Thomas. “I thought we were the better team coming in and we showed that. A few too many penalties but overall a pretty good performance on both sides of the ball.”
For Dickson County, things started to go bad on the opening kickoff. The Cougars elected to try an onside kick but Houston had no trouble recovering and was left with a short field for Day and company.
The junior connected with Wes Haynes from six yards out to make it 7-0 and got the ball right back when Dickson County fumbled the ensuing kickoff. His second was a 34-yarder to Owen Waggener, and moments later he found Shawne Jones from 18 yards out after Houston partially blocked a punt.
Still in the first quarter, Damon Sisa went 80 yards around the left end to make it 28-0. He then scored on a 3-yard run and ended the game with 148 yards on 11 carries.
Andre Allen — who had a fine block to spring Sisa on his long run — was rewarded for his efforts by catching a 9-yard pass from Day in the third. The reserves cleaned up from there, with freshman Brennan Odle scoring on a 3-yard run with about six minutes left.
Defensively, Houston held the Cougars to 59 total yards. Junior linebacker Donnell Yarbough had seven tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
“I knew athletically we were a bad matchup (for them),” Thomas said. “Every time we got one on one, I liked our matchup. We’re clicking right now and it’s a good time to be clicking.”
Houston’s celebration was muted and the coaches quickly made their way into their office to catch the final moments of the livestream between undefeated Clarksville and fourth-seeded Collierville. The Dragons, of course, are the Mustangs’ arch-rival, and had Clarksville won, Houston would have had to travel next week.
Instead the Dragons (8-3) gave Houston another home game, as back-up quarterback Grant Troutman led a late rally to win, 23-22.
Clarksville led 22-10 heading into the fourth. But Troutman — in place of Missouri commit Aidan Glover — found Joakim Dodson with a 53-yard touchdown that cut the margin to five with under seven minutes to go.
Collierville got the ball back with 2:32 remaining and Troutman went to work. He hit Emmanuel Palmer for a 28-yard pick-up and scrambled for 14 yards on the next play. A 13-yard pass to Martez Carter then got it down to the 1 and Troutman did the honors himself with 39 seconds left.
He finished 4 of 5 passing for 102 yards. Dodson had three catches for 106 yards and John Hampton had a strong game as well, carrying 24 times for 119 yards.
Next week’s game between the Mustangs and the Dragons will be a rematch of the regular-season finale from two weeks ago. Houston won that one, 42-28.
The other half of the bracket was less suspenseful, as Germantown and Bartlett rolled to easy victories.
The top-seeded Red Devils improved to 11-0 with a 47-0 victory over West Creek.
Jamarion Morrow got things going with a 45-yard touchdown run before B.J. Blake added a 44-yarder. Mr. Football semifinalist Cordero Walker then got his arm warmed up, throwing touchdowns of 29 and 70 yards to sophomore Tre’Von McGory and another one to Morrow. Freshman Larry Johnson had a touchdown run and a scoring pass from Mekhi Robins late.
Bartlett’s Mr. Football semifinalist, Geron Johnson, was also outstanding, as the third-seeded Panthers (8-3) won at Rossview, 48-16.
The junior rushed for four touchdowns, taking his second total to 24. Devin Rutherford Jr. had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Kam Alexander threw a 69-yard TD to Snap Reed.
Germantown won the regular-season meeting between the two, 44-20 on Oct. 6, and will host next week.
Southwind — the top seed from Region 8 — is the lone local team left standing, and will host Beech following a 62-0 victory over Springfield. Antoine Keefer returned a fumble for a touchdown to highlight another strong defensive effort for the Jaguars (11-0), who posted their sixth shutout of the year and third in a row.
Their next opponent will be Beech, which eliminated Overton, 42-8. The Wolverines — who were playing their first playoff game in 21 years — end the year with a 5-6 mark.
Hendersonville, seeded third from Region 7, surprised two-seed Munford, 41-34. The Cougars finish 8-3. Top-seeded Henry County eliminated Central, 35-14.
Rhyan Brown rushed for 188 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries, and added a fifth score on a 79-yard kickoff return as Melrose (8-3) rolled into the second round with a 49-6 victory over Obion County. The victory erased the memories of last year’s game, when the Golden Wildcats were once again the top seed from Region 8 but were upset by the Rebels.
Melrose next faces Dyer County, which eliminated Craigmont (4-7), 40-6.
Second-seeded Millington (9-2) survived a scare from visiting Crockett County but held on for a 38-35 victory. Quarterback McCoy Pugh was outstanding, rushing for 211 yards on 24 carries with three touchdowns, while completing 7 of 12 passes for 128 yards and two scores. Jyshawn Anderson caught both of those TD passes and finished with 109 yards on four receptions.
The Trojans will next face Haywood, which eliminated Kirby, 44-0. The Cougars finish at 3-8.
Covington won its eighth straight game, pounding Hamilton, 70-6. The Chargers (9-2) have averaged 52.9 points per game in that stretch and will next host Ripley, which upset top-seeded Sheffield for the second year in a row, 12-8. The Knights — who lost starting quarterback Davion Sledge to an injury early in the contest — finish 8-3.
Dyersburg improved to 11-0 with a 56-20 victory over East (5-6) and Martin Westview advanced with a 34-17 victory over Bolton (7-4) as Region 7 teams won all four games.
Mitchell (10-1) shook off its first loss of the season last week and advanced with a 40-0 victory over MLK Prep. Tadarius Canada ran for a touchdown and returned a punt for another in the first half, and the defense posted its seventh shutout of the season.
Next up for the Tigers will be Memphis Business Academy (7-3), which picked up its first postseason victory in program history with a 39-0 victory over Hillcrest (2-9) in a game played on Thursday.
The other half of the bracket will have Oakhaven and Fairley. The Hawks (5-5) advanced with a 46-6 victory over Trezevant (4-7) while the top-seeded Bulldogs had a first-round bye.
E.J. Gilliam threw for three touchdowns and ran for two and Kumaro Brown added three on the ground as MASE (9-1) rolled past South Fulton, 52-14. The top seeds from Region 8 will host Union City, which had no trouble against Westwood, 62-6. The Longhorns finish 4-7.
Middle College — the second seed from Region 8 — also stayed alive with a 33-22 victory over Lake County. The Bulldogs travel to undefeated Dresden next week.
Records can be deceiving, as Briarcrest found out.
The Saints opened their postseason at home against a Brentwood Academy team that came to town with a 1-9 record but the Eagles are the ones moving on after a thorough 43-14 win. Jack Gleason had both touchdowns for the Saints (4-7) catching one from Cade Carlson and another from back-up Hudson Tucker.
Lausanne and Northpoint — the top two seeds from the west — advanced with convincing victories.
Tyler Wilson scored on a 33-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to spark the Lynx (9-1) to a 41-13 victory over visiting Battle Ground Academy. Lausanne stays at home next week to take on Davidson Academy.
Northpoint (8-3) also got plenty of offense in a 49-24 win over Pope John Paul. It’s the first postseason victory in eight years for the Trojans.
Jack Patterson opened the scoring with a 55-yard touchdown run and tossed a 26-yarder to Charlie Parolli before the first quarter was over. The senior then scored on a 4-yard run before hitting Gray Patterson with a 28-yard TD. Noah Oigbokie added two touchdown runs in the third.
Northpoint heads to Chattanooga to take on undefeated Boyd-Buchanan next.
ECS ends the year with a 4-7 record after a 34-7 loss to Knoxville Webb.
Brian Shields — who was named a Mr. Football semifinalist in the division on Thursday — turned in a remarkable performance as FACS (9-2) won its first... Click here to read full article