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Mavs open playoffs with rout

Defense gets three INTs in win

  • Anderson County’s Russell Lindsay gets a screen block from Bryson Vowell on his way to a 27-yard interecption return against Grainger County Friday night. - Ricky Williams

  • Max Oglesby (55), Stone Cummins (30), and Anthony White (24) put the brakes on a Grainger County ball carrier during Friday night’s first round of the TSSAA playoffs. - Ricky Williams

On Friday, Nov. 8, Anderson County (AC) hosted the Grainger County Grizzlies for the first round of the TSSAA 4A Division Playoffs. Anderson walked away victorious 41-14.

The Mavericks were the favorite for the night, coming into the game with a 9-1 record to Grainger’s 6-4, but even so, it was much more one-sided than one generally expects from a playoff game. Anderson County scored halfway through the first quarter after an interception and 33-yard return from Austin Elliott that put the Mavericks in an early lead.

Then after a single possession by Grainger County stopped by Anderson County’s defense, the Mavericks received the ball again to score a second time before the second quarter, this one from a 28-yard pass to Cam Thomas from Stone Hatmaker.

The second quarter saw Anderson County pulling further ahead of the Grizzlies with two touchdown runs, one by Mason Fields and one by Anthony White.

Those two touchdowns were followed by a second interception, this one by Russell Lindsay, who returned it 27 yards for a third touchdown with two minutes still left in the second quarter.

The final touchdown of the second quarter put the score at 35-0 in favor of Anderson County, triggering the TSSAA “mercy” rule, where the clock runs continuously except for timeouts and scores.

In the third quarter, Anderson County scored one more touchdown after a five-yard run by T.J. Holmes. For the extra point, Anderson County used its second-string kicker, Dalton Andrews, although that extra point was blocked by the Grizzlies, putting Anderson County at their final score of 41.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Grainger County showed the life one expects from a playoff team. With 8:57 left in the fourth, the Grizzlies drove the ball all the way to the end-zone, scoring their first points of the night from a three-yard run from Reggie McBee.

They scored one more touchdown with 1:01 left in the quarter, leaving the final score for the night at 41-14 in favor of Anderson County.

Across 48 minutes of play-time, Grainger County held the ball for 34:48, while Anderson County only held it for 13:12.

To really put that in perspective, 13:12 of possession time, divided by six touchdowns, means that Anderson County, on average, only took 2:12 per touchdown.

Another area of note, and something one rarely sees in any football game, was that Grainger County had zero passing yards for the night. The Grizzlies tried to pass the ball four times. One of those attempts was unsuccessful, while the other three resulted in interceptions.

Strangely enough, the Grizzlies were very close to Anderson County in rushing yards, going 180 to Anderson County’s 189. That being said, the Grizzlies gained that many yards across 49 rushing attempts… to Anderson County’s 18.

Other notable stats from the night were Anderson County gaining 89 yards from their three interceptions, and the single sack of the night coming from AC’s Gavin Noe for a Grainger County loss of three yards. Anderson County’s T.J. Holmes also rushed for a net gain of 106 yards for the night, more than his four closest teammates combined, putting him at 1,093 net yards for the season.

Anderson County hosts Greeneville at home this Friday, Nov. 15.