The Region 5-1A championship was on the line, and both teams entered with plenty of confidence.
But Nashville Christian, the reigning Class 1A state champion, left little doubt about who was the better team, as the Eagles (8-2, 8-0) made a statement with a 43-20 victory over the Yellow Jackets (8-2, 6-2).
“We came into the game saying we can’t make mistakes, can’t turn the ball over early,” said Trousdale interim coach Ben Johnson. “We tried to talk to our kids all week about winning first down. We didn’t do a good job of that all night.”
The Yellow Jackets took the opening kickoff and marched inside the NCS 30, but quarterback Logan Hewitt threw the first of two interceptions to end any scoring threat.
Nashville Christian then turned to a punishing ground game to carve up the Trousdale defense.
Xavier Myers opened the scoring with a 12-yard run, followed by a 12-yard run from Lelan Wilhoite, who ran for four TDs on the evening.
Special teams also gave Nashville Christian a boost, as Jesse Watson’s 51-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter gave the Eagles a 29-0 lead. NCS also downed a punt inside the 5, setting up a safety as Trousdale could not advance the ball.
The Yellow Jackets got on the scoreboard just before halftime when quarterback Keyvont Baines found tight end Braison Raney for a score.
The second half was more of the same, as Wilhoite scored two more touchdowns to extend the lead to 43-7 and institute the running clock.
Trousdale County would get two late touchdowns from Isiah Harper and Tanner Lannom, the final coming as time ran out on the game.
Trousdale County finished third in the region with the loss, and will open the playoffs at Huntingdon for the second straight season. Nashville Christian’s opponent had yet to be determined at press time.
“It’s hard to find positives when it’s 43-20,” Johnson said, “but we fought through the whole game. We just have to start fast. We can’t take time to get started.”
Nashville Christian 43, Trousdale Co. 20
TC 0 7 0 13 - 20
NCS 7 22 14 0 - 43
First Quarter N-Myers 9 run (Baskin kick).
N-Wilhoite 10 run (kick failed)
N Willhoite 15 run (Griffin kick)
N-Watson 51 punt return (Griffin kick)
T-Raney 24 pass from Baines (Baines kick)
N-Wilhoite 39 run (Griffin kick) N-Wilhoite 6 run (Griffin kick)
T-Harper 31 run (Baines kick) T-Lannom 4 run
First downs 11 17
Rushing 37-213 43-284
Comp-Att-Int 2-9-2 5-14-0
Passing 29 42
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yds 3-20 7-70
RUSHING-Trousdale, Baines 10-86, Harper 11-80, Lannom 12-28, McClain 3-18, Satterfield 1-1. NCS, Wilhoite 17-149, Myers 17-106, Watson 6-20, Pemberton 2-5, Lawless 1-4.
PASSING-Trousdale, Baines 2-6-0-29, Hewitt 0-3-2-0. NCS, Pemberton 5-14-0-42.
RECEIVING-Trousdale, Raney 1-24. NCS, Howard 3-27, Lawless 1-9, Watson 1-6.