The Mavericks hosted Greenville on Friday, Nov. 15, in second round of the Region 1, Class 4A playoffs. They lost 7-24.
The game started incredibly strong for the Mavericks. After winning the coin toss, Greeneville elected to kickoff first, giving the Mavericks the ball. They didn’t score on the first possession, but they showed strong effort, keeping the Green Devils on the wire and handily shutting down their first offensive drives.
There was 5:30 left in the first quarter when Anderson County scored after a long, measured drive down the field. T.J. Holmes carried the ball only three yards for the touchdown play, and Daniel Bethel kicked the extra point.
It looked strong for the Mavericks, but that first touchdown was the only one they would manage.
Greeneville slowly heated up during the first quarter and into the second until, on their first play after receiving a punt, Greeneville’s Mason Gudger broke through the center of the Anderson County line and outran the Maverick’s defenders to carry the ball 73 yards downfield for a touchdown.
The score sat at 7-7 for most of the second quarter, and the Mavericks pushed hard to keep Greeneville from scoring again.
With 0:28 seconds left in the first half, Anderson County held the ball deep in their own territory.
They hoped to push down the field before the end of the half, when they would have to kick off to Greeneville, and to keep the clock from running out on their drive, the Mavs elected to run passing plays.
This would ultimately turn out to be the wrong choice. On the Maverick’s own 32-yard line, Greeneville defender R. Knuckles intercepted a pass from Stone Hatmaker and ran the short distance for a touchdown, putting Greeneville ahead for the first time that night and dealing a serious blow to Anderson County’s chances.
Both teams returned to a very different game from the start, with Anderson County now playing catch-up and Greeneville having seemingly come online and found their stride.
With 8:51 left in the third, Greeneville scored again after a strong drive down the field that Anderson County just was unable to shut down, putting the score at 21-7.
Whatever malaise settled on Anderson County though started to lose it’s grip on the Mavericks as they showed a fierce performance through the third, shutting down Greeneville’s attempts to widen its lead further and forcing them to kick a field goal in the fourth. That field goal was successful, putting the score at 24-7.
Anderson County still didn’t give up, though, making a vicious push as the Mavs ground their way down the field. That strong push was stopped short, though, by Greeneville’s second interception of the game. That interception broke any chance the Mavericks had of coming back as Greeneville lazily wound down the clock.
Anderson County’s starters showed strong performances through the game, with T.J. Holmes rushing for 134 net yards and Mason Field rushing for 48. Stone Hatmaker, the Maverick quarterback, threw for a respectable 66 yards, despite the two interceptions. It really goes to show how close both teams were in skill level that their overall stats were so close, with the total offensive yards for Anderson County coming out to 242 yards to Greeneville’s 250.
The game was also incredibly clean, with only one injured player on the Greeneville side and both teams only pulling 30 penalty yards each.
After it was all said and done, though, the Mavericks gathered in the center of the field and knelt. Tearful parents and coaches surrounded them as head coach David Gillum told them all how proud he was, and every one of their coaches took turns reminding them that, as players, they gave it their all.
There were tears and hugs, but at the end of it all, they gathered together and put their hands in for one last cheer of the season.