The 2018 TSSAA Football Playoffs

After 54-0 win, Mavs ready for next test

  • Mr. tennessee Football finalist Stanton Martin led the Anderson County High School Mavericks to a 54-0 first round 4A playoff win over Union County Friday night. - Tony Cox

  • Anderson County High School’s football Mavericks make the dramatic entrance on their home field last Friday. The Mavs donned their throwback Lake City jerseys — a tribute of sorts to Union County High School head coach Larry Kerr, who coached at Anderson County. - Tony Cox

The Anderson County Mavericks (11-0) hosted the Union County Patriots (6-5) in the First Round of the TSSAA 4A Playoffs.

A highlight of the night featured current Anderson County staff and players classily welcoming, recognizing, and honoring former head coach Larry Kerr in a pre-game ceremony.

On the field, the Mavericks controlled the first half of play. Anderson County was elite on both sides of the football. The Mavs’ offense was a well-oiled machine, and Union County failed to find a stop.

The stout Anderson County defense held the Patriots to only 107 Total Yards, and a shutout. Anderson County had a running clock the entirety of the second half, and the Mavs dominated the visiting Patriots, 54-0.

The Mavs’ defense put together an impressive four quarters. The Patriots averaged only 2.1 yards per play. In the first half, the Anderson County defensive unit forced four punts — three of which were three-and-outs, and two turnover-on-downs — one was an attempted fake punt that was gobbled up by senior linebacker Noah Colorusso.

The Mavs’ defense combined racked up 12 tackles-for-loss, totaling negative 47 yards for the Pats. Also, in the second half, freshman Anthony White recovered a Union County fumble.

The Mavs held Union County to only 88 total yards of rushing, and 19 yards through the air. The Pats were just 4-of-13 on third down conversions, 1-of-4 on fourth down conversions, and were held scoreless on their three trips inside the Anderson County redzone.

Colorusso led the Mavs in tackles-for-loss with three, and sophomore Russell Lindsey had Anderson County’s lone sack. The Mavs’ defense was able to get off the field and put the offense in good position to put points on the board—and they did.

The Mavs’ offense had six total possessions in the first half, and scored on all of them. Anderson County’s opening scoring drive did not go as planned. A holding penalty then a fumbled snap set up a 3-and-36. However, the Mavs have Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalist Stanton Martin. The senior quarterback hit his favorite target, fellow senior Michael Carroll, for a 77-yard touchdown bomb. Senior placekicker Steve Wagner tacked on the extra point, and Anderson County led 7-0 with 7:59 to go in the opening quarter.

On the next trip out, Anderson County’s offense put together a 80-yard scoring drive, on eight plays. Because of two penalties, it took the Mavs seven plays to get across midfield. The eighth, a 36-yard Martin touchdown strike to senior Cannon Carpenter. Wagner’s PAT put Anderson County up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Anderson County would add to their lead after Colorusso’s fourth down stop gave the Mavs possession on the Pats’ eight-yardline. The Mavs needed one play—a draw play that senior bruiser Ryan Moog took around left end, and walked into the endzone. Wagner’s extra point gave Anderson County a 21-o advantage, with 10:05 left in the first half. The offense returned after a Union County three-and-out, which gave the Mavs good field position. From the Pats’ 47-yardline, Martin and Carroll would move the Anderson County offense into the redzone, with a 29-yard connection. Again, Martin would hit Carroll in the left flat on a wide receiver screen play that was good for nine yards. On 2-and-1 from the nine-yardline, Martin would find Moog in the back left corner of the endzone, on a beautiful pump-and-go route. Wagner’s banged home the extra point, and Anderson County led 28-0 with 6:24 left in the half.

Again, the ensuing Anderson County drive would start with good field position—the Union County 29-yardline. The Mavs needed only two plays to capitalize. Martin found the other senior bruiser Marquis Gallaher on a middle screen play, who trucked down to the Pats’ seven-yardline. Gallaher would be rewarded on the next play, finding the endzone around left end. Senior lineman Trey Noe pulled on the play, and sealed the edge, which sprung Gallaher for six. With 4:01 left in the second quarter, the Mavs led 34-0. After a Union County punt, Anderson County would hit paydirt once more before the break. After a sack put the Mavs behind the sticks, Martin would respond by going four-for-four through the air. Three straight completions moved Anderson County from their own 36-yardline down to the Pats’ 20-yardline. The fourth Martin completion was a 20-yard touchdown strike to Logan Berry, and the Mavs had a commanding 40-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, sophomores Joshua Miller and Stone Hatmaker would find the endzone and seal Anderson County’s 54-0 first round win over Union County.

The Mavericks move on to round two of the TSSAA Playoffs, where they will host the Fighting Cyclones of Elizabethton High School. The matchup will be a rematch of last year’s second round game, where Anderson County defeated Elizabethton 38-21. The Mavs are the second ranked team in 4A, and will attempt to repeat last year’s winning effort. Kickoff for the second round matchup is scheduled for this Friday at 7:00.