If there was any lingering doubt as to exactly who is the best team in Region 2-4A, the Anderson County Mavericks removed it Friday night with a 63-14 win at East Hamilton.
The Mavericks used a big second quarter and an even bigger third quarter to trounce the Hurricanes and stake an outright claim to their first region championship since 2013.
In the first quarter, Michael Carroll returned an East Hamilton punt 27 yards to set Anderson County up at the East Hamilton 16-yard line.
Two plays later, Mason Phillips scored on a seven-yard run.
Steve Wagner kicked the extra point and the Mavericks took a 7-0 lead with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.
The two teams traded possessions until about the mid-point of the second quarter. Anderson County put together a very fast four-play, 91-yard drive that was highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown strike from Stanton Martin to Dalton Wilson.
Wagner added the extra point and the Mavericks led 14-0 with 6:44 left in the first half.
The Hurricanes fumbled the ensuing kick-off and Anderson County recovered the ball on the East Hamilton 44-yard line.
Five plays later, Marquise Gallahar caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Martin.
Wagner added the PAT and the Mavericks’ lead swelled to 21-0 with 4:35 remaining in the half.
East Hamilton’s Jhaeden Smith returned the ensuing kick-off 92 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good and the Anderson County lead was cut to 21-7 with 4:20 left in the half.
The Mavericks answered with a 10-play, 76-yard drive. They scored when Wilson caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Martin.
Wagner kicked the PAT and the Mavericks carried a 28-7 lead into halftime.
Anderson County opened the second with another quick scoring drive as they went 72 yards in just three plays as Phillips scored on a 45-yard run.
Wagner added the extra point to push the Mavericks’ advantage to 35-7 with 9:03 left in the third quarter.
The Hurricanes responded with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jared Price to Smith. The PAT made it a 35-14 Anderson County lead with 7:37 left in the quarter.
The Mavericks bounced back with a four-play, 72-yard drive. Gallahar scored on a 30-yard touchdown run.
The Wagner PAT moved the Anderson County lead to 42-14 with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
A little over a minute later, the Mavericks scored again when Austin Dunsmore pulled in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Martin.
Wagner kicked the extra point to give Anderson County a 49-14 lead and put the game under a continuous clock with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter.
With 1:40 left in the quarter, Chris Powell scored on a 35-yard return of a blocked punt.
Wagner sent the PAT through the uprights and the Mavericks led 56-14.
In the later part of the fourth quarter, Ryan Moog scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Martin.
Wagner’s extra point was the final score of the game with Anderson County winning 63-14.
“We didn’t play real clean. We missed some assignments up front but we made corrections and things got better as we went along,” said Davey Gillum, head coach of the Mavericks.
“The offense and defense mirror each other and the defense has played just as well as the offense all season. Statistically, we’ll finish with the best offensive and defensive seasons in Anderson County history as well as the best win total in Anderson County history,” he said.
Martin finished with “Mr. Football”-like numbers again.
He was 23-40 for 405 yards and five touchdowns. For the season, he has thrown for 2,470 yards and 36 touchdowns, while accounting for 2,951 yards and 41 touchdowns overall.
Wilson finished with six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
Moog had five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown while Gallahar, Carroll, and Phillips each had three receptions. In all, eight different Mavericks had catches in the game.
Gallahar led the team with 93 yards rushing and a touchdown on seven carries.
Phillips had 85 yards rushing and two touchdowns on eight carries. He also led the team on defense with seven tackles, including two for a loss.
Carroll had five tackles (including one for a loss) and an interception he returned for 28 yards.
Gallahar had five tackles, including three and a half for a loss, along with an interception.
Zach Webber finished with two tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Mavericks move to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in Region 2-4A while East Hamilton falls to 3-6 overall, 2-3 in region play.
Anderson County wraps up the regular season with Senior Night on Friday when they host Sequoyah.
Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.