The Yellow Jackets wanted to show they were ready for a playoff run, while the unbeaten Tigers were facing their first tough opponent.
But it was the hosts who looked the part of a contender as Whitwell came away with a 17-14 win on a last-second field goal by senior Austin Nunley.
Whitwell (7-0) drove to the Trousdale 5 in the final seconds to set up Nunley's 20-yard kick, which easily split the uprights.
Trousdale County (5-3) turned the ball over on downs at the Whitwell 42 with just less than four minutes to play. Instead of punting and pinning the Tigers deep, Trousdale coach Brad Waggoner elected to go for it on fourth and 5. Quarterback Keyvont Baines had an open receiver but overshot him, setting up the Tigers for the winning drive.
"We came to win the game," Waggoner said. "We had a play call that worked, we just didn't execute."
Trousdale took a early lead in the first quarter when Kobe Ford scored from two yards out. The extra-point kick was missed.
Whitwell responded with a touchdown pass from Dawson Holloway to Hudson Petty that covered 11 yards on a fourth-down play to take a 7-6 lead, which held until halftime.
The Tigers took the second-half kickoff and drove for another score, again a fourth-down pass from Holloway to Petty. The 37-yard toss put Whitwell ahead 14-6.
"They made two fourth-down plays for touchdowns, that was it," Waggoner said. "We had guys in position, their guy just made a better play than our guy made."
Trousdale County drove for the tying score as Baines ran in from 5 yards out, then added a two-point run with 1:53 left in the third quarter.
The Yellow Jackets return home next week for a region matchup against Cascade, which will also be homecoming for Trousdale County.
Whitwell 17, Trousdale County 14
Trousdale County 6 0 8 0—14
Whitwell 0 7 7 3—17
TC—Kobe Ford 2 run (kick failed), 5:31.
W—Hudson Petty 11 pass from Dawson Holloway (Austin Nunley kick), 11:50.
W—Petty 37 pass from Holloway (Nunley kick), 6:46.
TC—Keyvont Baines 5 run (Baines run), 1:53.
W—Nunley 20 FG, :00.
Rushes-Yards 34-150 42-212
Comp.-Att.-Int. 2-10-0 3-3-0
Passing Yards 64 80
Total Yards 214 292
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-Yards 2-10 4-30
Possession 21:44 26:16
RUSHING—Trousdale County, Baines 17-85, Harper 12-40, Ford 5-25. Whitwell, Condra 15-67, Holloway 12-55, Petty 8-48, Wingo 7-42.
PASSING—Trousdale County, Baines 2-10-0-64. Whitwell, Holloway 2-2-0-48, Petty 1-1-0-32.
RECEIVING—Trousdale County, Raney 1-40, Stafford 1-24. Whitwell, Petty 2-48, Shrum 1-32.