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Coalfield defeats Hancock County to move on to next round

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Yellow Jackets headed to Cloudland after 59-6 win over Indians

By Taylor Crombie

Michael Lowe set the tone early in Coalfield’s 59-6 victory in round one of the Class A playoffs when he returned the opening kickoff from Hancock County for a 75-yard touchdown.

The Yellow Jackets (10-1) scored four more touchdowns in the first quarter alone, three from passes by senior quarterback Parker McKinney to three different receivers and the fourth on a 65-yard punt return from Ashton Jones.

McKinney had three more passing touchdowns in the second quarter, including an 83-yard completion to Tyler Keathley.

Devon Buck also picked off a pass from Hancock County’s quarterback TJ Poore and returned it for a 26-yard touchdown.

“I was really pleased with the overall effort,” Coalfield head coach Keith Henry said. “The older guys, the younger guys, offense, defense, it was a good night for us.”

With a 59-0 lead headed into the second half and the TSSAA mercy rule in effect, Coalfield’s younger players were able to take over for the remainder of the game.

“They all played hard,” Henry said. “They all practice hard and it’s good to be able to give all of them the experience of the playoffs. That’s something special.”

Hancock County had a hard time moving the ball all night, but the Indians were able to get on the board in the fourth quarter when Seth Hipshire pushed through the line for a touchdown.

McKinney finished the night with 342 yard passing, bringing his season total to 2,530 and career total to 8,793. After adding six touchdown passes against Hancock County, McKinney now has 108 career touchdown passes and has moved into third place ahead of USJ’s Jake Overby on the state list and will need six more to move into second place ahead of Westwood’s Kenton Evans.

McKinney was named a semifinalist for the Class A Tennesee Titans Mr. Football award along with Braxton Givens from Gordonsville High School, Brandon Moore from Fayetteville High School, Kade Pearson from Huntingdon High School and Garrett Raulston from South Pittsburg.

Finalists for the Mr. Football award will be announced on Nov. 13. The awards will be presented to the winners from each class on Nov. 27 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Other Yellow Jackets are approaching big milestones as well.

Peyton McKinney caught one of the six touchdown passes for a 35-yard reception. He finished the night with 50 yards receiving total and only needs 41 more to finish the season with 500.

Lowe currently leads the team with 674 yards receiving on 36 receptions.

The Yellow Jackets will travel to Cloudland to take on the Highlanders in the second round for the fourth consecutive time.

Cloudland defeated Midway 50-13 in the first round to improve its record to 9-2.

Henry is treating the playoffs as a new season, and so far the Jackets are 1-0. With the postseason in full swing, the game plan remains the same.

“We’ve just got to focus,” Henry said. “You can always gain during the season. You can still work fundamentals; you can still get sharper on things because you don’t know what you’re going to see week to week and you still have to have the fundamentals to win ball games.”