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Coalfield finishes 9-1 with win over Oneida

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By The Staff

Before the Coalfield Yellow Jackets took the field, the cheerleaders held a sign that read, “Tonight is all yours.”

That sign referenced the seniors, and they played like the night was theirs.

On their senior night, the Yellow Jackets defeated the Oneida Indians 34-7 to finish their regular season with a 9-1 record.

“We’re really pleased with this bunch tonight,” head coach Keith Henry said. “This was Senior Night and that’s always a hard time.”

Senior quarterback Parker McKinney led the way offensively on his Senior Night completing 14-22 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns.

In the first half alone, McKinney had three passing touchdowns and 209 yards through the air.

“I’ll never see another one like Parker,” Henry said. “Parker is so special and I’m just looking forward to seeing him play on Saturdays.”

On McKinney’s first touchdown pass, he connected with Ashton Jones for a 17-yard touchdown. He followed that up with a 21-yard passing touchdown to his younger brother, Peyton McKinney.

With the team up 13-0 at that point, another senior made a big offensive play. Drake Miklas took a short pass 81 yards for a touchdown.

All of those touchdowns in the first half had something in common.

They were big touchdown plays.

“It was very important to get the lead so they could play catch-up to us,” Henry said.

Even after those three big offensive touchdowns, the team wasn’t done yet. In particular, the seniors weren’t done leaving their mark.

Senior Devin Buck intercepted a short pass and took it back 37 yards for his first career touchdown.

“It was a real read by him,” Henry said. “He’ll remember that forever.”

The Yellow Jackets led at the end of the first half 26-0 after the defense held the Indians to just 86 yards of offense.

In the second half, another senior wasted no time getting involved in the offensive production. Wide receiver Michael Lowe caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from McKinney to give the Yellow Jackets a 34-0 lead.

The seniors led the way offensive and defensively, but several non-seniors got in on the action as well. Ashton Jones and Peyton McKinney each caught touchdown passes.

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets were stout. After allowing their season highs of 34 and 21 in their last two games, they were back to their normal efforts.

“We really challenged them this week,” Henry said. “I think we did a good job of playing physical tonight.”

With Coach Henry’s seniors hosting their final senior night, he was especially proudly for the way they performed.

“Happy for them,” Henry said. “Your last regular season game on your home field and you got memorable plays to live with.”

The rivalry was a matchup between two of Tennessee’s oldest small school rivals, with a rivalry that dates back to 1932. Henry was also the co-head coach for the Indians from 1999-2004.

“It was a good time,” Henry said. “We had some great games with Coalfield back in the day.”

With a 9-1 regular season record, the Yellow Jackets now have unfinished business as they prepare for the playoffs.

The Yellow Jackets also finished last season with a 9-1 record, but were defeated by Greenback in the 1A quarterfinals.

This season, the Yellow Jackets have more seniors and are preparing to make a run.

“The experience makes a lot of difference,” Henry said. “I think it’ll be a bonus for us this year.”

The Yellow Jackets will host the Hancock County Indians in the first round next Friday.