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For the third time in the past four seasons, the Boyd-Buchanan Buccaneers have ended Rockwood’s season as Friday night the Tigers dropped a 27-19 decision in Chattanooga in the opening round of the TSSAA Class 2A playoffs.
Friday’s loss comes a year after the Bucs needed a late score to pick up a 17-13 victory. Boyd-Buchanan also knocked off Rockwood in the 2009 Class 2A semifinals, 42-0.
“It’s another heartbreaking loss for us down here,” Tiger head coach John Webb said after the game. “But I’m proud of these guys. We were down 24-6 in the fourth quarter and a lot of teams would have quit at that point, but our guys didn’t blink. They just kept going.
“I’m really proud of our seniors. They played their hearts out and they’ve led us all year long.”
While Friday’s game ended in disappointment, it got off to a great start for the green and gold.
After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, the Tigers put together a three-play, 51-yard scoring drive to take a 6-0 lead with 9:21 left in the opening quarter.
Kyron Inman scored the TD on a 34-yard run.
Rockwood’s PAT was no good.
Rockwood’s lead lasted just 23 seconds, however, as Jim Cardwell returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards then Rance Harden scored from 27 yards out to give the Buccaneers a 7-6 lead with 8:58 left in the first quarter.
Boyd-Buchanan’s defense then forced a punt and the Buc offense again struck quickly with a three-play, 61-yard scoring drive that made the score 14-6 with 5:46 left in the first quarter.
Things nearly got away from the Tigers before the end of the quarter. After picking up three first downs on their next possession, Rockwood’s drive ended when Boyd-Buchanan made a great leaping interception on a middle screen.
The Bucs couldn’t convert on the turnover, however, as Rockwood defense forced a three-and-out.
Rockwood’s next big break of the game came midway through the second quarter when the Tigers forced a fumble on a punt that was recovered by R.J. Southard at the Boyd-Buchanan 33 yard line.
Rockwood picked up one first down at the 18, but a penalty helped kill the drive, as Jared Breazeale eventually missed a 39-yard field goal with 4:14 left in the first half.
The Bucs then closed out the half with an 11-play scoring drive that ended in a 29-yard field goal to make the score 17-6 in favor of Boyd-Buchanan at intermission.
The second half opened with 13 being an unlucky number for Rockwood.
The Tigers would put together a 13-play drive that ate up 7:22 of the third period clock, but the Tigers turned the ball over on downs at the Buccaneer 13.
“You’ve got to score when you get it in the red zone and we missed out on a couple of chances tonight,” Webb said. “It’s hard to beat good teams when you do that.”
While 13 was unlucky for the Tigers, Boyd-Buchanan answered with a 13-play, 87-yard scoring drive that ended in a four-yard pass from Cardwell to Harden that made the score 24-6 with 10:13 left to play.
Rockwood refused to quit and a simple adjustment on offense helped lead a late rally. The adjustment was a quick pitch to Inman that the Tigers ran time and time again in the fourth quarter.
Rockwood’s first drive was a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a six-yard run from Inman on the pitch that made the score 24-13 with 6:28 left to play.
“Dad-gum it. I don’t blame anyone but myself,” Webb said of the late change on offense. “We had been looking for something that was missing all night and we finally found it, but it was too late.”
After closing the gap to 11, Rockwood’s defense forced a three-and-out then Tyler Brown blocked a punt that gave the Tigers a first down at their own 47 with 5:16 left to play.
Behind a mixture of runs from Inman and three completions from Breazeale, the Tigers quickly drove down the field and scored on a one-yard run from Clay Cisson with 3:15 left to play.
Rockwood’s two-point try was no good, leaving the score 27-19.
Rockwood tried an onside kick, but it was unsuccessful then the Buccaneers ran out most of the clock before kicking a 28-yard field goal with 29 seconds left to make the score 27-19.
Any chance of a Tiger miracle ended on downs four plays later with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-one.
Offensively, Rockwood owned a 346-297 advantage in total yardage over the Buccaneers.
Rockwood rolled up 267 yards rushing on 50 carries with Inman (19-143, 2 TDs) and Cisson (21-88, 1 TD) leading the way.
Breazeale completed seven of 12 passes for 79 yards.
Inman hauled in three passes for 52 yards while Hayden Freels had three receptions for 27 yards.
Harden and Cardwell combined for all of Boyd-Buchanan’s 297 yards. Harden ran the ball 21 times for 154 yards with two TDs while Cardwell chipped in 139 yards on 19 carries. The duo also hooked up for a four-yard touchdown.
Rockwood ends their season with a 6-5 record.
Rushing- Cisson 21-88 with 1 TD, Inman 19-143 with 2 TDs, Long 2-8, Breazeale 2-11, Skidmore 6-17.
Passing- Breazeale 7-12 for 79 yards with 1 INT. Team 0-1.
Receiving- Inman 4-52, Freels 3-27.