In their last two games, albeit both losses, the Sequoyah Chiefs have seen two very different ends of the spectrum.
Sequoyah lost a shootout to Chattanooga Central, the best game the Chiefs have played this season and one in which both squads arguably deserved to win, on Sept. 6 before hosting Loudon on Friday, Sept. 13.
In that game, similarities between the two teams were almost nowhere to be found, as the Redskins dominated the Chiefs throughout the contest, handing Sequoyah a 56-7 loss.
“We’ve still got a lot of growing up to do,” Sequoyah head coach Ryan Bolinger said. “We talked about taking the next step and being able to finish. I felt like one, two and three, we progressed a little bit at a time. We just missed finishing off Chatt Central last week and blowing leads.
“That was my speech this week was finishing, knowing how to finish and it’s overcoming adversity. Yeah, they take that kick return and we came out flat. Just being able to bounce back from adversity.”
Loudon zoomed out of the gate, returning the game’s opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. The Redskins would go on to score three more touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air, before the end of the first quarter.
Sequoyah scored its first, and only, points of the night during the second quarter, when senior quarterback River Jenkins connected with sophomore receiver Remington Millsaps for a 2-yard passing touchdown.
“(Jenkins is) a competitor,” Bolinger said. “Even at the end, he wanted to keep playing. He’s been banged up a little bit, he’s fine, but he’s a competitor. And he knows what to do with it. I really enjoy him being out here.”
But Loudon produced two more touchdowns before halftime, giving the Redskins a 42-7 advantage and a running clock in the second half.
As Sequoyah’s offense struggled, Loudon’s fielded an additional two scores to give the game its final 56-7 scoreline.
The loss drops the Chiefs to 0-4 on the season, keeping Sequoyah in the hunt for its first win on the year. It would also be the first victory of Bolinger’s career as a head coach.
Although the Chiefs had rough sailing against the Redskins, one positive was an interception by Jacob Martin during the second period. Sequoyah’s secondary has been a bright spot for the Chiefs so far this season, as Sequoyah has four picks in its last two games.
“We’re moving some people around and so I think they’re seeing it a little better develop,” Bolinger said. “That takes time, but we’re making some plays defensively. But we’re giving up big stuff here and there and that’s what’s killing us. We’ve got guys in the right place, right time, and they’re just not doing what they need to do.”
Friday night served as Sequoyah’s Homecoming game, with Evan Swanson and Sophie Roberts being named Homecoming King and Queen, respectively.
But the night was important for another reason as well, with the school hosting a “Gold Out” to benefit childhood cancer awareness. Fans were asked to wear gold clothing to the game and Sequoyah’s coaching staff was dressed in gold shirts.
The event honored the memory of Olivia Newsome, daughter of Chiefs assistant football coach Caleb Newsome. Olivia, 12, passed away earlier in the week due to cancer. Gold balloons were also released into the air in remembrance of Olivia.
Sequoyah will travel to Hixson for just its second road game so far this season on Friday, Sept. 20.
The Wildcats are winless on the year as well, having most recently lost to Sequatchie County, a 20-14 game on Friday.
“I don’t know much about (Hixson) other than what I’ve heard from the coaches and the former players,” Bolinger said. “So just figuring out, we’ll watch some film tonight on them and try to get a good gameplan for them.”
River Jenkins- 10/20, 67 yards TD, INT
Evan Swanson- 14 carries, 57 yards
Luke Lay- 6 carries, 25 yards
Lay- 1 reception, 27 yards
Remington Millsaps- 4 receptions, 6 yards, TD
Justice Benson- 3 tackles
Joey Boothroyd- 3 tackles
Millsaps- 3 tackles
Jacob Martin- INT