Mavs control Region 2-4A

ACHS makes it look easy in win over East Hamilton

  • Gavin Noe changes direction on one of many rushes for the Mavs in the game against East Hamilton. - Ricky Williams

  • Elijah Alley during his moment of honor. Alley was honored during the Anderson County game for his contributions to the school and the program, with multiple administrators, former coaches, and teammates giving accounts of their time and experiences with Alley. Maverick merchandise was also sold to help fund Alley’s treaments for ALS. - Ricky Williams

The Region 2-4A championship was probably decided Friday night.

With one game left on the schedule — next week at a rebuilding and winless Sequoyah High School in Monroe County — the game against East Hamilton had all the makings to be a classic contest.

The Mavericks won 43-14.

So much for drama.

The Mavericks took an early lead in the game, with a 24 yard pass by Walker Martinez caught by Josh Miller for the first touchdown of the night barely four minutes into the game. Anderson County scored two more touchdowns before the end of the first quarter, one from a 25-yard run by Gavin Noe and another from a 47-yard pass from Martinez, again to Miller.

Miller particularly had a standout game, with two more 40-plus- yard touchdown receptions before the end of the first half to put the Mavericks up 40-0 going into the third quarter. East Hamilton scored on a two-yard run early in the third to get on the board as the secondaries came in for the Mavericks. The Mavs only scored one more time for the night on a 23-yard field goal by Daniel Bethel to put the Mavs up 43-7.

East Hamilton would score one more time with 1:10 left in the fourth quarter to put the final score at 43-14, and give Anderson County its fourth region championship in a row.

AC’s defense proved again just how powerful of a force it is, keeping East Hamilton to only six first downs the entire game and granting only 76 rushing yards and 130 passing yards. Sam Caylor, Devon Noe, Eli Davis, and Bull Shipley all finished the night with four sacks, with Davis and Shipley each costing the Hurricanes eight yards. Tanner Goins, despite not finishing with a sack, finished with four solo tackles and seven total, and Jacob Brock finished with two solo tackles, both for a loss, to cost the Hurricanes 15 yards.

David Gillum, head coach for the Mavericks, said the Hurricanes tried some different things to throw the Mavs off.

“They did give us some different fronts on defense they hadn’t showed all year, maybe trying to mix us up a little bit, but it didn’t really give us a problem.

“Typically they’re one of the better pass defenses we play, and I was really pleased with how well we threw the ball. For the most part, it went the way I had hoped it would.”

On offense, Gavin Noe again led the Mavericks on rushes with 136 out of 170 net yards across 19 attempts, while the other 34 yards were split among Miller (23 yards), Zach Shannon (19), and Jacob Brock (1).

Walker Martinez continued to throw for the Mavericks, netting 203 total yards across seven completed passes. Martinez was backed up by Stone Hatmaker, who threw three completed passes for 50 yards.

The Mavs finished with 423 total offensive yards for the game, more than double East Hamilton’s 206, and kept penalties down to only five throughout the game.

Gillum talked about how well the team performed, as well as the mentality the team had going in.

“Defense played lights out,” he said. “There were a few little mis-cues, but lights out for the most part and same for the offense. Dominated on the OL [offensive line].

“Josh Miller and the receivers made plays and Daniel Bethel played really well. It was good team performance, and really made strides heading into the playoffs. I felt like it was probably the best we’ve played this year. We were definitely looking forward to it. We were playing for the region championship, but also they’ve been ranked higher than us in the polls all year, and it was hard for us to understand that because we’ve handled them so well in years past, so our boys wanted to prove something.”

Elijah Alley was honored on the field during halftime. Alley, who has been battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, graduated from Anderson County and played football with the likes of David Gillum and Travis Freeman under Coach Kerr. He’s now a coach of the Norris Senators.

The team sold merchandise to help fund Alley’s treatment, and Gillum said he’s thankful for everyone who came out to support not only the team, but also Alley.

“I appreciate all the people who came out and supported Elijah Alley and everyone in our community to continue lifting him up in prayer and anything anyone can do to continue to help that cause, we really appreciate it. “