David Matlock’s appearance didn’t match his feelings.
The Sequoyah Junior Chiefs head coach was calm and quiet, his typical demeanor, following his team’s 20-0 win over the TPJHS Junior Bears on Thursday, Sept. 12.
But his words conveyed the true emotions that winning the first in-county middle school football game in Monroe County history will bring.
“I’m feeling jubilation,” Matlock said. “Feel great. It was a good, physical ballgame. Tellico’s got a really good program and have really good athletes. We’ve been getting better every week and I feel like this is a stepping stone in the right direction.”
Matlock’s Junior Chiefs scored all of their touchdowns on the ground at Tellico on Thursday. The first was on a 1-yard run by Lucas Stamey during the second quarter, with the two-point conversion giving Sequoyah an 8-0 lead at halftime.
Sequoyah’s second touchdown came courtesy of another 1-yard Stamey run, set up by a long return on the opening-half kickoff from Maddox Jones. The Junior Chiefs’ final rushing score, and touchdown in general, of the evening was a 13-yard carry by Grady Jacobs in the third period.
And Matlock knows exactly why his team’s running game had so much success.
“They’re a deep unit and they can stay fresh, and we have different people playing on offense and defense, so that keeps them a little fresher,” Matlock said. “We’ve got seven or eight guys that we can put in, so we feel confident with them.”
Tellico Plains, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going a week after the Junior Bears’ offense cruised in a 40-0 decimation of McMinn County.Running back Nick Johnson accumulated a whopping 241 yards and three touchdowns in that game, but was held to just 31 yards against the Junior Chiefs. The Junior Bears’ attack is built almost entirely on the running game, but neither Johnson nor stout quarterback Ethan Harris were able to move the pile particularly well.
The Junior Chiefs, meanwhile, found success in their split-back offense with both the run and occasionally the pass, as quarterback Elias Heath threw for 56 yards.
Sequoyah isn’t free from issues itself, though. Matlock pointed out several areas he wants to see the Junior Chiefs improve in.
“We were a little bit sloppy on our exchanges and so we definitely need to clean that up,” Matlock said. “And (we need to) just be a little more precise on our routes.”
Sequoyah will face a second consecutive county team next Thursday, Sept. 12, as the SJHS Junior Cats will host the Junior Chiefs in Sweetwater. It will be the first time this season that Sweetwater has played a county opponent.
“Sweetwater’s always a rivalry game as well and it’s going to be a great battle,” Matlock said. “I know they’re well coached and they always are and they’re always a physical team. So hopefully we will continue to get better and we’ll just have a great game.”
Tellico Plains will host its Homecoming game that day against Norwood. Kickoff for both games is set for 6:30 p.m.