Monroe County officially kicked off the 2017 football season Friday night at Tellico Plains High School, where seven high school teams gathered for the Kevin Kiser Memorial Football Jamboree.
After the junior teams squared off, the high school portion of the jamboree started with the individual skill competitions.
For longest pass, the first result was too close to call, as Sweetwater’s Jeff Gibson and Meigs County’s Jawan Martin launched the ball about 55 yards apiece. In a throwoff, Martin won the day for the Tigers with a 64-yard toss.
Shallon Alawadi took home the award for longest punt for Loudon, booming a kick over 58 yards. Sweetwater’s Khayman King won the place kicking trophy with a 56-yard kick.
To conclude the skill competition, Sweetwater’s Meechie Oggs won the 40-yard dash for linemen, and Shariq Dodd of McMinn Central won the competition for backs.
After the skill competition, the contest broke into four quarters with a running 20 minute timer in each quarter. Tellico Plains, as the jamboree host, played in two quarters.
TELLICO PLAINS 7, SWEETWATER 0
The hosting Bears opened the jamboree action against cross-county rival Sweetwater. Tellico quarterback Dale Rinehart found Blake Burgess for a big gain on the Bears’ first drive, but two short rushes and an incomplete pass led to a punt to end the series.
Sweetwater quickly got going on offense. Quarterback Riley Turpeinen connected with Keegan Knox for an 18-yard pass and Jaycob Forrester paced the Wildcats on the ground. The Wildcats were just as quickly derailed, however, by a Levi Roberts interception.
The Bears fully capitalized on the turnover. Rinehart completed a short pass to Brandon Linder and Burgess and Corey Taylor churned out yardage on the ground until a sack by Sweetwater’s Josh Russell brought the momentum to a halt. Rinehart kicked it into high gear again, however, connecting with Linder for a 15-yard pass to get out of a fourth-and-nine situation. Logan Watkins, Roberts, and Rinehart each produced nice runs to get to the red zone, and Watkins finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown scamper.
The score, with just over a minute remaining, was enough to give Tellico Plains the win in the first quarter of action.
POLK COUNTY 7, LOUDON 7
Loudon got the ball first to open the second quarter and only needed one play to score. Skyan Lyle got the handoff and raced down the middle for a 70-yard touchdown to put the Redskins on top early.
Polk County tried to answer with a potent ground game, sending Kendall Swemley and Hunter Morgan to carry the ball, but a fumble recovered by Loudon’s Bill Crawley ended the Wildcat threat. The next drive, however, Polk County finally found success. Nate Waters’ 29-yard pass was hauled in by Kyle Dunn, and the extra point tied the game.
The 7-7 tie was cemented on the next Loudon drive when Polk’s Sean Lee scooped up a fumble with little time left on the clock.
MEIGS COUNTY 0
In the third quarter, Sequoyah took to the field without the services of starting quarterback John-Douglas Wiggins, who was sidelined due to illness, but that didn’t seem to effect the Chiefs’ confidence.
After trading fruitless possessions, Meigs County started to get rolling with a 10-yard Jawan Martin rush, but a fumble recovered by Sequoyah’s Jaylen Davis swung the momentum for the Chiefs.
Led by quarterback Gunter Millsaps and running back Tyson Cardin, Sequoyah marched down the field. Millsaps found Justin Floyd for an 11-yard touchdown that decided the final margin and handed Sequoyah the win.
“I like the way we went out there and competed,” Sequoyah coach Bobby White said. “I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the jamboree, but it was good. They were focused. They were ready to play someone else and just get out there. That’s what our first-team defense is capable of. We haven’t kept them on the field a whole lot during the scrimmages and stuff. We’ve played up to 30 kids on defense at this point, and some kids have separated themselves.”
MCMINN CENTRAL 7,
TELLICO PLAINS 6
After forcing two incomplete passes on defense, Tellico Plains got off to a fast start in their second 20-minute scrimmage of the night.
Taylor and Watkins shouldered the rushing load with two big gains apiece before Rinehart found Linder for a 14-yard gain. A 15-yard rush by Burgess set the Bears up with a first-and-goal and Rinehart scored on a 7-yard quarterback keeper up the middle. The extra point, however, sailed wide right.
On Central’s second drive, the Bears seemed to have the Chargers stopped again when a bad snap flew over Hunter Powers’ head and was recovered for a 13-yard loss. Powers made up for the mistake one play later, connecting with Jeremiah Long for a 55-yard gain for the touchdown. The extra point was good, sealing the win for Central.
“We looked good until the end,” Tellico Plains head coach John Mullinax said. “Then we started acting like we don’t have any sense. We came out with some intensity, but we’ve got to play the whole game with total intensity, bought into what’s going on. Other than that, we played good.”