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By NICK WILLIAMS
Before Friday’s game at Greenback, the Rockwood Tigers were coming off some good performances in the last few weeks against Upperman and Harriman. The Tigers looked to continue that streak Friday night against a Cherokee squad that was trying to get over their first loss of the season.
Greenback’s running game, led by Richard Seymour’s 240 yards and four TDs, helped the Cherokees win by a final score of 38-20.
Rockwood got the ball to start the game and returned the kickoff to the 35 yard line. The Tigers got some good runs at the start of the game, but disaster hit as Tiger QB Jared Breazeale fumbled the ball and Greenback recovered at the 50 yard line.
Greenback struck quick with a 50-yard drive that took just one minute and ten seconds, putting the Cherokees up 7-0. Seymour scored the touchdown on a five-yard run.
Rockwood needed to respond, after getting hit in the mouth early, and did just that with a 57-yard drive. The drive was capped off by a 25-yard touchdown run by Kyron Inman, knotting the game up at 7-all.
Greenback got the ball back and started out at the 49 yard line, and with a balanced offensive attack, the Cherokees moved the ball right down the field, scoring with 5:33 left in the first quarter to regain the lead at 14-7.
Both defenses stepped up and kept the offensives quiet until late in the second quarter. Rockwood got a stop on a fourth-and-four to get the ball back.
The Tigers then drove the field and scored with a one-yard run by Clay Cisson, to tie the game at 14-14.
With 1:25 left in the first half, Rockwood’s defense got a moral victory holding Greenback to a 35 yard field goal to make the score 17-14.
Rockwood, ready to go in to the locker room being down three, was going to run the clock, but fumbled in the process and Greenback recovered and ran it down to the five yard line. With the clock winding down Greenback QB Eric Anderson threw the ball, but it was batted in the air and Tyler Skidmore came up with the interception, keeping the Greenback offense out of the end zone.
To start the second half, Rockwood’s defense stopped Greenback and forced a punt.
Offensively, the Tigers were on the move and a threat, thanks to some big runs from Inman. Rockwood scored with a little more than five minutes left in the third quarter, making the score 20-17.
Just when Rockwood had the momentum, Greenback took it back with a big 40-yard pass down the sideline, setting up a 10 yard touchdown run giving Greenback the lead at 24-20.
The fourth quarter was all Greenback, as they scored 14 points in the last eight minutes. The first score came on a 15-yard touchdown run with just under eight minutes left in the game, and the second was set up by a 34-yard pass, capped off by a two-yard run with 2:27 to go.
Greenback held Rockwood scoreless in the final period to win by a final of 38-20.
Inman led Rockwood on the night with 158 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Greenback improves to 7-1 on the year while Rockwood moves to 4-4 on the year. Both teams fought hard but in the end Greenback’s offense was too much for the Tigers’ defense to handle.
Despite the loss, the Tigers are still in excellent shape to a wild card berth into the TSSAA Class 2A playoffs. A win in either of the Tigers final two games of the regular season should be enough to secure that playoff spot.
Rockwood’s first chance to pick up that win will come Friday night when the Tigers host Tellico Plains (1-6) at Civitan Field.