By Ed Greif
Brady Wattenbarger passed for two touchdowns to Austin Helton to lead the Stone Memorial Panthers to a 38-8 victory over the CCHS Jets for the third straight time to win the annual King of the Mountain contest Friday night before a standing room only crowd at Jet Stadium.
Wattenbarger completed eight of nine passes for 127 yards, with the two TDs to Helton, who had five catches for 105 yards. Chandler VanNatter caught two passes for 12 yards and Brian Frye had one catch for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Justin Johnson rushed for 190 yards on 21 carries with one TD and a two-point conversion, while Nathaniel Clanton toted the pigskin 16 times for 60 yards with one touchdown.
"I was really proud of the effort and class our kids played with. We had some guys whose numbers were really good, but this was a total team win," said Coach Mark Wattenbarger, whose team improved to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in District 6AAA.
"We can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We've got to block...got to tackle...got to throw...got to catch," said Jet coach Ted McCaslin. "We've got to go back to the basics. The better team won tonight. We've got to go out and expect to win."
The Jets fell to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the district, and they saw their losing streak go to 20 games. SMHS leads in the series 5-2 and has outscored CCHS 167-80 in the seven games.
Dorian Holt was the Jets' leading rusher with 115 yards on 11 carries, followed by Kenny Brewer (five for 10), Tyler Norris (one for five) and Dillon Reineking (one for five).
Jordan Buckner completed 10 of 17 passes for 118 yards with one touchdown. Colton Dykes had three catches for 63 yards with one TD, followed by Holt (three for 29), A.J. Dick (two for 15) and Tyler Howard (one for three yards).
Each team went three and out to open the first quarter, but the Panthers marched 56 yards in 13 plays to take a 6-0 lead on a pass from Wattenbarger to Bryan. The two-point conversion was snuffed out by the Jet defense.
Johnson, Clanton, Frye, Wattenbarger and Seiber carried the ball 11 times for 39 yards, while Wattenbarger passed 10 yards to Helton.
CCHS took the ensuing kick at their 24-yard line line, and three plays later, Buckner hit Dick for a 71-yard touchdown strike to tie the game at 6-6, but the Jets were whistled for a holding penalty, which took the steam out of CCHS's engine. Buckner hit Dykes for a five-yard pass, which was not enough to recover the lost yardage.
On the Panther's ensuing possession, Johnson carried twice for 25 yards, but Dykes picked off a pass in the end zone to stop the drive.
CCHS took over at their 20, and picked up two big first downs on a 10-yard run by Holt and a 20-yard pass from Buckner to Dykes; however, the Panther defense would sack Holt for an 11-yard loss to thwart the drive, which ended on downs at the Jet 41.
Two plays later, Wattenbarger passed 33 yards to Helton for a touchdown, after Johnson had picked up eight yards on the first play. Johnson scored the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead with under five minutes left in the half.
Each team had one more possession in the first half, which ended 14-0.
CCHS rushed for 54 yards on 16 carries and completed five of seven passes for 40 yards, but were penalized three times for 17 yards. SMHS rushed for 71 yards on 20 carries, completed five of seven passes for 65 yards and penalized four times for 25 yards.
Leading tacklers for the Jets in the first half were Zakk King, Daniel Richards, Dick, Brewer, Ben Church, Zach Smith, Norris, Dykes, Reed Shaw, Dillon Oakes, Chace Marshall, Holt and Seth Randall.
Leading the Panther defense were Seth Seiber, Nathaniel Clanton, Adam Stine and Cole McDaniel.
After a short kickoff return by Dykes, the Jets took over at their 27 to start the second half. Three plays later, Holt fumbled after a short gain, with Seiber recovering for the Panthers.
The Panthers used their running attack of Clanton, Johnson and Seiber to move the ball deep into Jet territory. The Jet defense held, forcing a field goal attempt. The first attempt of 25 yards was waved off because of a Jet penalty, moving it five yards closer for Panther kicker Patrick Robinson. The kick was good, giving SMHS a 17-0 lead.
CCHS took over at their 35-yard line, but two holding penalities killed the drive, forcing another punt.
SMHS took over at their 34 after a short return and a holding penalty. Johnson then rambled 66 yards for the touchdown and a 23-0 lead. Robinson's PAT made it 24-0.
The Jets took over at their 46 after a short kickoff return by Holt. After an 11-yard pass to Dick gave CCHS a first down. Buckner's next three passes were incomplete, forcing another punt. Holt raced eight yards on the fake attemp, but came up short of the first down, giving the ball back to the Panthers at the Panther 41.
SMHS then drove the distance in seven plays, as Wattenbarger rolled to his left to hit Helton for a 17-yard score and a 30-0 lead. Robinson booted the PAT for the 31-0 advantage.
CCHS took the ensuing kick at their 35 and went the distance in two plays to slice the deficit to 31-8 on a 35-yard pass from Buckner to Dykes, after Holt raced 30 yards for a big first down. Dykes passed to Tyler Howard for the two-point conversion.
After the ensuing kick, SMHS drove 69 yards on 10 plays, capped by a three-yard TD run by Clanton. Clanton, Johnson and Frye did all of the running. Robinson's PAT made it 38-8.
The Jets had the ball for six plays, before Frye picked off Dykes to end the drive.
CCHS rushed for 84 yards on 16 carries and completed six of 11 passes in the second half for 42 yards, but were whistled for three penalties for 18 yards.
Leading the Jet defense were Holt, Tyler Cantrell, Randell, Brewer, Dykes, Oakes, Marshall, Dick, Shaw, Norris, Kobe Cox, Smith and Caleb Charles.
The Panthers rushed for 171 yards on 25 carries and completed three of three passes for 51 yards.
Leading the Panther defense were Frye, Nick Bohannon, Keith Sadula, Blaine Pennington, Van Natter, Seiber, Clanton, Johnson, McDaniel and Dakkota Karge.
The Panthers will host Pickett County for homecoming this Friday at 7 p.m., with homecoming activities to take place at halftime. CCHS will have an open date to prepare for the Sept. 20 trip to Rhea County.
(Gary Robbins and Greg Maxwell also contributed to this story.)