By Ed Greif
"I love the way our players competed. They didn't quit," said CCHS Jet football coach Ted McCaslin Friday night, after his team was beaten 35-7 by District 6AAA foe White County.
Added defensive coordinator Stuart Bowen, "I'm proud of your effort. We competed. We forced five turnovers. Someone said, 'The team who makes the fewest mistakes wins.'"
The Jet defense led by Nolan McClain, Reed Shaw, Dorian Holt, Michale Miller, Seth Randall, Zac Smith, Tyler Norris, Chace Marshall, Dylan Oakes, Tyler Cantrell, A.J. Dick, Trey McCloud, Kobe Cox, Kenny Brewer and Colton Dykes forced five Warrior fumbles, picked off one pass and recorded eight tackles for minus 31 yards.
Holt had two of the five fumble recoveries, while McClain, Oakes and Cox had one each, and Hotl picked off the Warrior pass.
McCaslin also indicated "the game was closer that the score indicated" and came down to three plays.
Holt returned the opening kickoff to the Jet 21-yard line, but quarterback Jordan Buckner's first pass was picked off and returned 21 yards to the Jet nine by Warrior senior Skylar Delaney. That was one of the plays McCaslin was referring.
Blake Lynn scored three plays later on a three-yard run for a 6-0 lead with 9:51 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion pass from Jake Young to River Boruff made it 8-0.
Holt returned the ensuing kick 47 yards, but the Warriror defense held the Jets to three plays and out, set up by a quarterback sack.
White County took at their 30-yard line. Despite two penalties, White County moved the ball on the ground behind Perry Clayton, Lynn and Boruff; however, Young went zero for three passing, with the third pass picked off by Holt.
CCHS was unable to convert the PIC into a score, as a Buckner fumbled on a sack for a five-yard loss. Holt recovered the ball for the Jets who were forced to punt three plays later.
White County took over at ther 27 following the Jet 40-yard punt.
Another big play — a 64-yard run by Lynn — put the ball at the Jet nine-yard line. Three plays later, Lynn raced 12 yards for a TD, but a holding penalty nullified the score, which led to a fourth-down, 38-yard field goal by Luke Cantrell with 2:34 left in the first quarter to give the Warriors an 11-0 lead.
Randall recorded a tackle for minus six yards.
After a short kickoff return, the Jets took over a their 28. Buckner completed four passes for 19 yards — two to Zakk King and two to A.J. Dick; however, Buckner picked up three yards on two carries, as the first quarter ended.
The drive stalled, giving the ball to the Warriors a their 48, after Holt was tackled for a 15-yard loss on the punt attempt due to a high snap from center.
Two plays later, Lynn fumbled after a two-yard game, with McClain recovered for the Jets.
Buckner completed two of his next four passes for 38 yards — one each to Dick and King — to the Warrior 15-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Brewer carried 14 yards to the Warrior one. Two plays later, Holt scored from the one to slice the lead to 11-6. Gene Cravens booted the PAT to make it 11-7 with 9:17 left in the half.
Another key play — a 60-yard kickkoff return by Lynn — gave the Warriors the ball at the Jet 13. Four plays later, Lynn scored from two yards out to give the hosts a 17-7 lead. The two-point conversion made it 19-7.
Another good kickoff return by Holt gave the Jets the ball at their 40; however, the Warrior defense held the Jets to three plays and out. The punt was partially blocked into the arms of Warrior defensive back Tommy Odom, who returned teh ball 40 yards for a touchdown. The PAT made 26-7.
The teams exchanged possessions with the Warriors taking over at their 22, where they drove the distance 10 plays to score on a 24-yard field goal by Cantrell to give the hosts a 29-7 lead at the break.
White County rushed for 181 yards on 26 carries and completed three for nine passes for 34 yards in the first half, while the Jets rushed for 23 yards on 15 carries and completed nine of 24 passes for 69 yards.
The Warriors had three possessions in the third quarter, rushing for 67 yards on 14 carries and completed one of three passes for eight yards, while the Jets two possessions, picking up two yards rushing on six carries and completed one of eight passes for eight yards.
White County wrapped up the scoring with 1:01 left in the game on a 12-yard run by Clayton for a 35-7 advantage. The two-point conversion was snuffed out by the Jet defense.
CCHS finished the fourth quarter with 24 yards rushing and four yards passing on two of five passes, while White County had 74 yards rushing on 14 carries and 13 passing on one of two tosses.
Cumberland County travels to Sweetwater this week for a non-district battle at 6:30 p.m. CDT.