Wildcats vs. Chiefs-2

Sweetwater’s Jonah Kile tackles Sequoyah’s Matt Lee as Luke Lay and Kaleb Johnkins pursue during the Wildcats’ game against the Chiefs.

There’s never a lack of drama, action or intrigue when these two teams take the field.

The Sweetwater and Sequoyah football programs faced off last season on Sept. 27, with the Wildcats besting the Chiefs, 43-12.

Although the result was lopsided, the game provided plenty of exciting plays and highlight moments between two fierce county rivals.

Based on film study, here’s a look back at some key plays from the latest edition of the local rivalry:

Long hits Johnkins deep for TD

One of the evening’s signature moments came on a long Wildcat touchdown pass in the first quarter.

With Sweetwater leading 9-0, its offense lined up at its own 46-yard line. Quarterback Austin Long went under center, with tailback Drew Hicks behind him in the backfield, a bunch formation to his right, and a single wide receiver to his left.

At the snap, Long faked to Hicks on the play-action, then rolled to his left. Kaleb Johnkins, the single receiver on the left side, ran a crossing route, while Bryce Johnson ran split action across the formation out of the bunch set, eventually colliding with a Sequoyah defender.

With the Wildcats’ other two receivers taking up coverage on their routes, Long let out a deep pass to Johnkins in the middle of the field. And he delivered, snagging the ball and running to the end zone for the score.

What made this play successful was the play-action call. The Chiefs are known to play Cover Zero (no defenders covering deep) defense with defenders close to the line of scrimmage.

The play-action drew in Sequoyah’s linebackers and defensive backs, forcing them to adjust quickly when the play turned out to be a pass. It was just enough time for Johnkins to gain a lot of ground on the route, and for Long to set his feet and throw the deep pass.

Wildcats defense stays at home

A specific play before halftime showed Sweetwater’s defensive integrity.

Deep in its own territory, Sequoyah’s offense lined up with quarterback River Jenkins in the shotgun formation, tailback Evan Swanson and H-back Luke Lay to his left.

Matt Lee, the wide receiver on the formation’s right side, ran jet motion, and Jenkins handed him the ball right after the snap. The trick, though, was that the ball was then handed to Justin Floyd, the Chiefs’ left-side receiver, on an end-around.

Trick plays work when defenders don’t stay at home, but Sweetwater’s did.

Edge player Jovan Johnkins contained the right side even after Jenkins handed off to Lee, causing a traffic jam when Floyd reversed to that side of the formation.

Floyd was forced to cut inside, where defensive lineman Carter Holmes was ready to make the tackle. Because Sweetwater’s defense stuck with its assignments, the play resulted in a win for the Wildcats.

Floyd breaks free on long TD run

A long touchdown run by Justin Floyd late in the game was one of Sequoyah’s best plays in 2019.

The Chiefs lined up in a Maryland I-formation, with two fullbacks and Floyd at tailback behind quarterback Jenkins. It was a new look for Sequoyah, which had previously mainly employed a shotgun-spread offense.

At the snap, Jenkins pitched to Floyd, with the second fullback, Swanson, lead-blocking. Floyd made a speedy cut inside and weaved through traffic down the field, eventually fighting through multiple tackles into the end zone.

Floyd mainly played wide receiver and defensive back for the Chiefs in 2019, but the play showed just how much the senior meant to Sequoyah last season.

He could make plays as a running back just as well as he could out wide and in the kick return game, and that potential was critical to Sequoyah’s offense in its first season under head coach Ryan Bolinger.

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