Greeneville pulls off upset in the final 26 seconds
The Greeneville Green Devils once again ended Anderson County High School title hopes with a last-seconds 28-24 win.
The Mavericks hosted Greeneville on Friday, Nov. 13, for a playoff game against the Green Devils. After taking an early lead, the Mavs lost the lead with 26 seconds left in the fourth period.
This is the second year in a row the Green Devils have ended Anderson County’s season in the second round of the playoffs — the Green Devils had beaten Anderson in the state quarter finals twice before.
David Gillum, head coach for the Mavericks, said the team didn’t play its best ballgame Friday night.
“We played hard, and played physicial,” he said. “I thought we played more physical than them and played harder, but we just played sloppy football, and it’s hard to win a game of that magnitude with that many mistakes. We had more penalties than we’ve had all year, missed touchdown passes, dropped coverage, and had a lot of things that we didn’t do that made it a ballgame.
“I said going into this that my fear was we wouldn’t play clean and we’d give up big plays. We had fumbles and gave up a few big plays, but, really, it was the penalties in the first half that slowed us down. We didn’t play clean.”
Both teams opened the first quarter a little shaky, with the only score being a 38-yard field goal by Anderson County’s Daniel Bethel to put the Mavs up 3-0.
Neither team got a touchdown until the third quarter, when Anderson County’s Gavin Noe finally managed to score for the Mavs on a one-yard rush.
The Green Devils answered only 17 seconds later with an 80-yard pass to put them on the scorboard at 10-7.
The Mavs scored again in the third, this time from a 38-yard pass by Walker Martinez to Zach Shannon.
Once again, though, the Green Devils answered only minutes later, this time with a 47-yard run to put the score 17-14 going into the fourth.
Midway through the fourth, Greeneville took the lead for the first time with a touchdown on a three-yard run, but Anderson County scored one more time on a pass to Garrison Terry with just under three minutes left to put them up 24-21.
The next two minutes was a slog down the field with Anderson County trying to stop Greeneville and Greeneville marching ever-onward.
Throw in a couple penalties and it added up to a Greeneville touchdown with 26 seconds left to put the Devils up 28-24.
Anderson County pushed to midfield with only a few seconds left before throwing an interception, ending the game and Anderson County’s run in the post-season.
The game was remarkably close from a stats-perspective, with Greeneville finishing with a total of 397 yards to Anderson County’s 395. Anderson County rushed for 245 yards to Greeneville’s 154, while Greeneville was one of the few schools to outpass the Mavericks, finishing with 243 yards to AC’s 150.
Penalties afflicted both teams, with AC pulling 13 penalties for 90 yards and Greeneville getting 11 penalties for 95 yards.
Anderson County also fumbled the ball twice, losing it once.
Gavin Noe once again led the Mavs on rushing with 222 net yards, followed far behind by Josh Miller with 26 yards. Walker Martinez also rushed for 17 yards, but passed for all 150 yards.
Miller once again led on receptions, with three catches for 75 yards, and behind him, Garrison Terry finished with two receptions. Zach Shannon and Bryson Vowell both finished with a reception each.
On the defensive side of the ball, Stone Cummins led on tackles with 11, including four unassisted and a sack for a loss of 11 yards.
Zach Shannon came up close behind with eight tackles, and Tanner Goins came up third with six.
Maxx Oglesby and Garrison Terry both finished with sacks for a loss of six and 12 yards, respectively.
Meanwhile, Thor Williams finished with the team’s only interception for the night.
Even with the loss, Gillum had plenty of good things to say about how the team performed.
“Our offensive line and Gavin Noe dominated the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We dominated them up front the same way we’ve dominated really everyone else we’ve played. Gavin ran the ball over 40 times for 200 yards and had a great year, but, against one of the best teams in the state, he had a huge night. Our quarterback played well, and the receivers made plays. We did drop some balls and that was a factor, but they played well.
“Defensively, that front seven was awesome. Greeneville struggled to get in the run game. If you had told me they would be able to complete enough passes to beat us, I would have been surprised. We made them do a lot of things they weren’t used to doing, but to their credit, they did enough of it to get the win.”
Gillum said that even though everyone is disappointed, and he understands that, it doesn’t take away from how proud he is of the team and the program, and the community at large.
“Our kids played really hard and I’m proud of them, but just hate it for the kids and the community that we didn’t get it done,” he said. “We’re all disappointed it didn’t go the way we wanted, but it doesn’t take away from the kids and how hard they played and what a good team they were. We didn’t play our best and it hurts when that happens, but I’m extremely proud of the kids. I’m extremely proud of this team, the coaches, our program and the community. I just think Anderson County, and Friday nights at Anderson County specifically, are a special thing, and whether we win a state championship or not won’t change how special of a place it is.”