Greenback hands Coalfield first loss of the season

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Cherokees put up 27 points in final quarter to win 34-33

By Taylor Crombie

It looked like the Coalfield Yellow Jackets had the game in the bag with a 27-7 lead over Greenback headed into the fourth quarter, but the Cherokees staged a 27-point rally to come back and win the game 34-33.

A number of factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, went into Coalfield’s fourth quarter breakdown, but head coach Keith Henry was not about to make excuses after the game.

“We made some mistakes and couldn’t overcome them,” he said.

While the Jackets’ offense took a while to heat up, the defense was absolutely lights out in the first half. Greenback was only able to generate 66 yards passing and no yards rushing at the end of the half, while Coalfield’s offense was explosive as usual after the Jackets started to get things rolling.

The Yellow Jackets had the chance to score on their opening drive, but ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Cherokees’ 15-yard line after a series of miscues. It did not take Coalfield very long to get the ball back though, as Ashton Jones intercepted a pass from Greenback quarterback Bryce Hanley.

Coalfield started the drive on Greenback’s 49, but the Jackets were quickly moved back to their own 46 due to an illegal substitution penalty. The Jackets slowly but surely moved the ball down the field through short carry after short carry after Parker McKinney completed a 12-yard pass to Peyton McKinney to put Coalfield back in Cherokee territory on the first play of the drive. With only seconds remaining in the first quarter, Parker McKinney tossed the ball to Seth Lowe who was able to sneak into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. Wyatt Withrow’s PAT attempt was good, giving Coalfield a 7-0 lead headed into the second quarter.

The Cherokees were able to answer early in the second quarter with a touchdown of their own to tie the game 7-7, but the Jackets regained the lead on their next drive.

After starting on their own 35, the Jackets fumbled the ball in Greenback territory for the second time. This time, Coalfield was able to recover and pick up a first down thanks to Johnny Carroll. The Jackets caught another lucky break in the form of a 13-yard pass interference penalty. Parker McKinney connected with Micheal Lowe for a 14-yard touchdown pass. After another successful PAT kick from Wyatt Withrow, Coalfield was back up 14-7.

The Jackets added one more touchdown before the end of the first half when Parker McKinney was given all the time in the world to launch a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jones. Coalfield could breathe a little easier with a 21-7 lead headed into halftime after Withrow’s third PAT.

Coalfield scored another touchdown midway through the third quarter on a 28-yard touchdown reception by Jones, but momentum started shift in Greenback’s direction after Willis blocked the PAT attempt.

Greenback opened the fourth quarter with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Hanley to Seth Riddle that was nearly broken up Lance Byrd. Creed Ramsey’s PAT kick went wide to the right, bringing the score to 27-13 Coalfield.

The Cherokees got the ball back quickly and wasted no time scoring again. Breeden Gilbert ran for 43 yards on two carries to score Greenback’s second touchdown in just over a minute and a half. Ramsey’s PAT was good this time, bringing the Cherokees one touchdown away from tying the game.

When Coalfield got the ball back, Tyler Keathley scored what ended up being the Yellow Jackets’ last TD of the contest on a 16-yard carry. Withrow PAT went wide to left, bringing the score to 33-20.

Coalfield’s two missed PATs ended up being the difference in the game, as Gilbert scored two more touchdowns for Greenback on back-to-back drives to give the Cherokees the 34-33 win.

The banged-up Yellow Jackets will get to enjoy a bye week to rest and get healthy before taking on the 2-5 Oliver Springs Bobcats on the road.