Both teams had new coaches on their respective sidelines and you also had the Class 2A Yellow Jackets taking on the Class 6A Blue Devils.
What the fans on both sides were treated to was a slugfest between two teams with plenty to prove, with Trousdale County coming out on top 10-6 at Clifford Tribble Field.
The game came down to the final play, with Trousdale freshman Cameron Rankins intercepting a pass in the end zone to secure the victory.
Both teams had their share of mistakes, with Trousdale having a first-quarter touchdown called back due to penalty. A Lebanon drive in the third quarter was snuffed out by back-to-back delay of game penalties.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Lebanon coach Chuck Gentry. “We were expecting a battle and that’s what they got.”
A number of bad snaps also plagued both teams throughout the night, although neither was ever able to take advantage.
“We knew it would be a four-quarter game,” said Trousdale coach Brad Waggoner. “Our kids just kept fighting and finding a way throughout the game. It’s a testament to those kids who have worked their tails off since January.”
Trousdale County was first on the scoreboard when Rankins took the ball and dashed 29 yards through the Lebanon defense. Sophomore Kobe Ford also had a 29-yard run on the drive as the Yellow Jackets took a 7-0 lead.
“(Rankins) and Kobe are two different kinds of runners,” Waggoner said. “Kobe’s more of a dash runner and Cameron’s a bigger guy, more of a pound guy.”
The Jackets would extend that lead to 10-0 on the final play of the first half on Keyvont Baines’ 20-yard field goal. The kick capped a drive that 17 plays, covered 68 yards and took 8:56 off the clock.
“The kids wanted to go for it, but I said, ‘We’ve got to kick because it gives us a two-score lead,’ ” Waggoner said.
Lebanon found a spark early in the second half after recovering a Yellow Jackets fumble. Quarterback Chandler Crite took the ball toward the right sideline and cut up through the defense for a 50-yard scoring run with 9:23 left in the third quarter. Trousdale coaches and players argued that Crite had stepped out of bounds, but to no avail.
“It was a huge spark,” Gentry said. “This is a game of momentum and it helped us get it on our side. We just couldn’t keep it; kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
The extra-point attempt was blocked, which would prove huge later in the game. Neither team could manage much for most in the second half, with Trousdale misfiring on a fourth-and-4 from the Lebanon 34. The Blue Devils would return the favor with a 7-yard punt on the ensuing drive.
In the fourth quarter, Lebanon got in scoring range twice but could never capitalize. With 4:19 left, Crite threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-6 from the Yellow Jacket 41 to give Trousdale the ball back with a chance to run out the clock.
“Chandler’s very explosive and we expect him to make big plays,” Gentry said. “We just have keep plugging along and make some adjustments. We played better in the second half on offense and defense but just couldn’t finish.”
Two bad snaps that Baines had to fall on left Trousdale punting from its end zone.
“We hurt ourselves in the second half with bad snaps and penalties, but our defense bailed us out.,” Waggoner said.
A poor punt was muffled by Lebanon’s Adewale Oluwatobi, who managed to fall on it at the Trousdale 21 and give the Blue Devils one last chance.
The Blue Devils moved to the Trousdale 9 in the final minute, but another bad snap left Lebanon at the 23 with just eight seconds left.
Crite heaved two passes into the end zone, the first of which was incomplete before the second was intercepted by Rankins.
“It’s nothing different from middle school,” Rankins said. “Just bigger guys, larger crowds. But if you want to be a great player you can’t let it faze you.”
Trousdale County will host Friendship Christian next week, while Lebanon will travel to McGavock.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trousdale Co. 10, Lebanon 6
TC 0 10 0 0 - 10
Leb 0 0 6 0 - 6
TC-Cameron Rankins 29 run (Keyvont Baines kick), 10:40.
TC-Baines 20 FG, :00.
L-Chandler Crite 50 run (kick blocked), 9:23.
Rush-yards 42-165 34-132
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-0 3-7-1
Pass yards 38 34
Penalties-Yards 5-42 4-25
RUSHING-Trousdale, Ford 13-63, Rankins 6-62, Harper 7-37, McClain 3-6, Satterfield 2-2, Baines 11-(minus-5). Lebanon, Crite 19-96, Cooper 11-34, Stafford 2-10, Oluwatobi 1-3, Butler 1-(minus-11).
PASSING-Trousdale, Baines 4-9-0-38. Lebanon, Crite 3-7-1-34, Butler 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING-Trousdale, McGuire 4-38. Lebanon, Oluwatobi 2-17, Hastings 1-17.