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OS downs Clay County, 34-27

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By Brody Jones

While it may not have been one of the more glamorous victories of the year for the Oliver Springs Bobcats, Garrett Miller's 306 all-purpose yards proved to be too much for the Clay County Bulldogs as the Bobcats survived to chalk up a 34-27 win. 

“We played absolutely sloppy tonight on both sides of the ball,” said Oliver Springs head coach Wiley Brackett after the game.

Clay County started off the game moving the chains a couple of times before punting the ball to the Bobcats. 

Oliver Springs would then embark on a lengthy drive, getting to the Clay County 7 yard line before Miller was picked off in the end zone by Corey Hamilton of Clay County. 

After a punt, the Bobcats put together an 8-play, 71-yard drive with Miller rifling a pass to John Simms for a 37-yard touchdown. 

The PAT went wide left and the score was 6-0 with 11:06 left in the half. 

Clay County managed to get to the Oliver Springs 11 yard line on their next drive, but was sacked on a crucial fourth down by Ray Efferson and Sean Wright to give the 'Cats possession. 

Four plays and 79 yards later, Miller found Michael Nelson for a 12-yard touchdown strike. 

The two point play was no good and the score was 12-0 with 7:34 to go in the half. 

After an exchange of possessions, the Bulldogs drove 64 yards in four plays to score on a Alex McLerran to Matt Copeland 14-yard touchdown strike. 

The extra point was blocked making the score 12-6 with two minutes left in the half. 

Two minutes, however, was plenty of time for the Bobcats as it only took Oliver Springs three plays to cover 75 yards when Miller plowed his way into the end zone from eight yards out with. 

Miller ran in the two point conversion to make the score 20-6 with 20 seconds left until the end of the half. 

Clay County moved the chains one time to start the second half before coughing up the football and the Bobcats' Joey Vinson recovering. 

The Bobcats failed to pick up a first down and were forced to punt, but the kick was blocked by Clay County's Andrew Walker. The Bulldogs, however, failed to seize the opportunity and turned the ball over on downs. 

Oliver Springs looked as if they would add to their lead as they got to the Clay County 1 yard line, but they were denied another trip to the end zone on fourth down. 

The Bobcats defense did their job and forced a punt then the Oliver Springs offense put together an 11-play, 75-yard excursion to the end zone with the touchdown coming on a 4-yard touchdown scamper by Austin West. 

Jordan Romero ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 28-6 with 9:45 to go in the game.

But this game was far from over as Clay County responded with an 8-play, 61-yard drive, culminating with a McLerran to Copeland 5-yard touchdown pass. 

McLerran found Corey Hamilton for the two-point play to make the score 28-14 with 7:32 left in the game. 

The Bobcats marched seven plays and 52 yards with Austin West scoring from six yards away for a Bobcat touchdown with an assist from Michael Aliff.

The PAT fell short with 3:26 left in the game. 

But Clay County had a huge return to the Bobcat 46 yard line before getting 15 yards closer on a personal foul after the play. 

McLerran then found Jacob Marcom from 31 yards away for a touchdown for the Bulldogs. 

The PAT was wide right, making the score 34-20 with 2:50 to play in the game. 

The Bulldogs would then recover the onside kick at the Bobcat 46 before again getting 15 yards closer on another personal foul, and in a case of deja vu, it only took McLerran one play to find Matt Copeland form 31 yards out for another Bulldog touchdown. 

Matthew Rich booted the PAT to make the score 34-27 with 2:34 to go in the game. 

After three different off-sides penalties on the Bulldogs on their onside kick attempts, they finally got off a pooch kick and Miller fell on it and the Bobcats proceeded to run out the clock to take the 34-27 win. 

The Bulldogs had a 295-168 advantage through the air, but lost on the ground, 364-37, to give Oliver Springs a 532-332 edge in total yardage. 

Oliver Springs was led in passing by Miller (9/17, 168 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and on the ground by Jordan Romero (22-180 yards), Miller (17-138-1 TD) and West (9-46-2 TDs).

The Bobcats were led in receiving by Michael Nelson (3-89-1 TD) and Simms (1-37-1 TD).

Clay County was led in passing by McLerran (13/25, 295 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT). 

Oliver Springs improves to 6-4 on the season with the victory and will play at Oliver Springs next week in the opening round of the TSSAA Class AA playoffs. 

 “We need to learn to keep our cool on both ends of the ball and we didn't play well at all tonight,” said Coach Brackett. “We can't play like this next week or our season is going to end early.”