Battle of the Bridge

Mavericks pull away for 55-21 win

  • Anderson County High School players hoist the Battle of the Bridge trophy after beating Clinton High School 55-21 last Friday

In front of a packed Anderson County High School Stadium, on Rivalry Thursday, the Anderson County Mavericks (4-0) defeated cross-town rival Clinton 55-21, earning the Battle of the Bridge trophy.

Fireworks were constant throughout the night, as the Mavericks’ offense put on an impressive performance. In fact, that might be an understatement, as Anderson County racked up a whopping 586 Total Yards. However, the Herd would not draw first blood.

The Dragons (1-2) received the opening kickoff and went to work offensively. The Dragons’ opening drive was executed perfectly, and featured a senior wide out Isiah Washington 31-yard scamper — on a third and one — which put Clinton in Anderson County territory.

Three plays later, on another third down from the Mavericks’ eight-yard-line, his number would be called again. From the flexbone formation, the senior took a pitch to the right, made a man miss, and barreled his way in for six. Junior place kicker Noah Grumbach tacked on the extra point, which capped off a seven-play 80-yard drive, and the Dragons took an early 7-0 lead with 8:44 left in the first quarter.

Anderson County would respond quickly. Led by senior quarterback Stanton Martin, the Mavericks’ offense would march 71 yards on six plays. From the Clinton 22-yard line, Stanton would find senior receiver Michael Carroll on a screen to the left. Carroll received a couple of good blocks, raced down the sideline, and dove for the pylon for a Mavericks’ touchdown. Senior place kicker Steve Wagner’s PAT tied the game 7-7 with 6:25 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive Michael Carroll would make a big play for the Anderson County defense — intercepting Clinton’s Luke Harrison. Carroll’s pick gave the Mavs’ offense good field position, and they would capitalize.

Stanton would find junior wide receiver Austin Elliot over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown strike. Wager’s successful extra point capped an eight-play 51-yard drive, and the Mavericks took a 14-7 lead with 1:29 left in the opening quarter of play. However, that lead would not last long.

On the first play of the Dragons’ next drive, senior running back Josh Breeden took a handoff up the middle that seemed stuffed my the Mavericks’ defense at the line of scrimmage.

Yet, somehow Breeden put his hand to the turf, kept his balance, bounced out to the left and sprinted 74 yards down the Anderson County sideline to the house. Grumbach’s point after knotted the game 14-14, with one minute to go in the first quarter.

On the next Anderson County possession, the Dragons’ defense would make a big play of its own. Isiah Washington would pick off Martin inside Anderson County territory, and give the Clinton offense great field position.

However, the Dragons were unable to take advantage — a holding penalty followed by a sack from Senior linebacker Marquis Gallaher, forced Clinton out of field goal range and were forced to punt.

Back on offense, the Mavericks continued to find success through Martin’s arm. The senior completed all four of his attempted passes, including a 32-yard bomb to Elliot. Wagner’s point after was good, and Anderson County took a 21-14 lead on a six-play, 77-yard drive, with 6:32 remaining in the half.

The Mavs would get the ball back after a Marquis Gallaher truckstic forced a fumble, which was recovered by senior linebacker Noah Colorusso.

The turnover gave Anderson County possession on the Clinton 24-yardline. Gallaher would be rewarded for his defensive efforts with a 2-yard touchdown rush, which capped off a seven-play, 24-yard scoring drive. The PAT was no good and Anderson County took a 27-14 advantage into the break.

Clinton kicked off to Anderson County to start the second half, and the Maverick offense picked up right where it left off in the first half. Starting at their own 33-yard line, Anderson County drove into Clinton territory on four plays. The fifth — a Stanton Martin 40-yard dagger down the middle to Michael Carroll — produced points.

Wagner’s kick was good and the Herd extended their lead to 34-14, with 10:04 to play in the third quarter.

Clinton would immediately respond.

On the ensuing kickoff, Washington received and returned 89-yards untouched to house. Grumbach’s point after was good, and the Dragons narrowed Anderson County’s lead, 34-21 with 9:50 left in the third quarter.

The Anderson County offense would return to the field, and dominate the rest of the game. Their next drive was a Marquis Gallaher show. The senior back carried 4 times for 36 yards to get the Mavericks into striking distance.

The drive would be completed with a beautiful 25-yard Stanton Martin connection with Michael Carroll, in the back right corner of the end zone. Wagner’s extra point extended Anderson County’s lead to 41-21, with 7:24 remaining in the third.

The Mavericks’ defense forced a three-and-out on Clinton’s ensuing drive, and a shanked punt gave Martin and the Herd offense good field position.

From the Clinton 38, the Mavs went 38-yards on seven plays. Senior running back Ryan Moog powered in a draw play from the 1-yard line, Wagner added the PAT, and Anderson County lead 48-21 with 3:25 left in the third period of play.

For the second straight drive, Clinton would be unable to cash in on offense and were forced to punt.

The Maverick offense went back to work, and found the end zone for the final time. From their own 24-yardline, after a penalty, Anderson County went 76-yards on five plays to pay dirt. Moog found the end zone again, on a run off left end from 11-yards out. Wagner’s extra point made it 55-21, with 10:03 left in the ballgame.

Anderson County quarterback Stanton Martin had a monster of a game, and finished 17-of-23 for 306 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

His favorite targets were Carroll and Elliot. Carroll had six receptions for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Elliot had five receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns.

“A lot of times, I threw it up there, and my receivers were just perfect and able to come down with it. Good throw, bad throw — they got it,” said senior quarterback Stanton Martin.

On the ground, Moog and Gallaher were a true 1-2 punch combo for the Mavericks. Moog finished with 20 carries for 131 yards and 2 scores. Gallaher carried 15 times for 121 yards and a touchdown.

“Right now, our offense is very explosive, very potent, very well-rounded, and it’s hard for any defense to handle,” said Anderson County Head Coach Davey Gillum.

Defensively, the Mavericks held the Dragons to 217 yards. Additionally, Anderson County forced two Dragon turnovers.

Keeping Clinton’s offense at bay is a task that is easier said than done, considering their flexbone style of offense.

“It is hard (to prepare for), it’s a unique offense. No matter how many times you rep it (in practice) your scout team can never duplicate how low, how quick, and how tight is it,” said Gillum.

On Clinton’s side of the ball, Josh Breeden had only eight touches, but rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. Isiah Washington followed with 11 carries for 62 yards and a score. Also, Washington found the end zone for a second time on his 89-yard kickoff return.

“He’s a good, special kid. Our run game was pretty solid, good enough to beat any team on our schedule,“ said Clinton Head Coach Randy McCamey.

The Dragons struggled to match-up defensively. Anderson County’s offense is talented, especially at the skill positions. Clinton’s task of containing and minimizing big plays is one that most of the state would struggle with.

“Defensively, we have to be able to catch a break. We would get them in third down over and over and never come out of it. They were stronger than us. We got pushed around up front, and it all starts up front,” said McCamey.

When asked about how it felt to beat Clinton, senior running back Marquis Gallaher in a simple, yet blunt fashion, “Good.”

Both schools will be in action this Friday. Anderson County hosts Chattanooga Howard Tech. Clinton has its home opener against Powell.

Both of those games are scheduled to kickoff at 7:30.

cluding a TD. Anthony White caught three passes for 22 yards.

Rushing scores were earned by Ryan Moog and Logan Berry. Moog gained 79 yards on eight carries while Berry’s lone rush resulted in a 12-yard score. Joshua Miller carried three times for 44 yards while Jayson Terry rushed Grayson Terry rushed four times for 14 yards.

Defensively, Stone Cummins paced the Mavs with eight sacks. White contributed five while Sully Sexton and Maxx Oglesby finished with four.

Placekicker Steve Wagner converted on six of his seven extra-point attempts.

Game stats

AC Hixson

First downs 16 13

Rush yds. 150 209.

Pass yds. 205 32.

Total yds. 355 241

Comp/att/int 13-18-0 4-11-0

Turnovers 0 0

Penalties 6-44 3-30

Time of poss. 23:50 24:05