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Coming off a disappointing 28-0 loss to Loudon to end the regular season, the Kingston Yellow Jackets put together a phenomenal performance Friday night in blowing out Polk County on the road, 49-14.
The victory was extra sweet for the Jackets considering Kingston’s recent history with the Wildcats. In 2009 and 2011, the Jackets saw their season come to an end with playoff losses at Polk County, and Jacket head coach Blair Harrison was happy his seniors could get that monkey off their back.
“They’ve worked really hard all year to leave their mark on this program,” Harrison said. “To go down there and get a victory over a team that has dominated us says a lot about them and this team. I’m happy that they’re able to leave that legacy.”
Harrison was equally proud of his team for bouncing back from last week’s loss.
“A lot of credit goes to our kids for getting ready after last week,” he said. “We executed tonight and that’s something we didn’t do last week. We were able to block them, which is something we didn’t do against Loudon.”
Kingston started strong Friday as the Jackets took the opening kickoff and marched 67 yards in 11 plays for the game’s first touchdown.
Senior FB Brody Roberts capped the drive with a five-yard run.
Keaton Shillings added the PAT to give the Jackets a 7-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
Polk County seemed poised to answer, but Kingston’s defense came up with perhaps the play of the game late in the first period. The Wildcats drove all the way from their 17 yard line to inside the Kingston five, but on fourth-and-goal from the four, the Jackets stuffed Wildcat 1,700-yard rusher Zach Miller for no gain.
“That goal line stand was huge,” Harrison said. “Their running back is a great player and we hadn’t seen anyone stop them all year on the three films we had.
“Our defense really came to play tonight. We had four takeaways and we didn’t turn the ball over when we had it.”
After the stop, Kingston put together the drive of the year on offense as the Jackets drove 96 yards in nine plays.
A 47-yard pass from Brandon Ott to Aaron Acosta was the big play in the drive.
Roberts scored from two yards out to give the Jackets a 14-0 lead with 9:52 left in the first half.
Kingston’s defense might have played great overall, but they did have one bad play after the kickoff as Miller raced 78 yards for a touchdown to make the score 14-7 with 9:30 left in the half.
Kingston, however, would not let the Wildcats keep the momentum as the Jackets answered with a quick three-play, 57-yard scoring drive capped by another two-yard run from Roberts to make the score 21-7 with 8:50 left in the first half.
Ott set up the score with a 36-yard completion to Kitts. Kitts opened the drive with a 19-yard run.
Kingston poured it on with two more touchdowns to end the half.
Kingston’s Trae Colquitt set up the first score when he had a sack and fumble recovery on Polk County’s next possession to give the Jackets the ball at the 50.
Kingston scored four plays later on a 19-yard run from Preston Edmonds to make the score 28-7 with 5:01 left in the half.
Kingston’s defense got the next score when Acosta returned an interception 30 yards for a score to give the Jackets a 35-7 halftime lead.
Kingston added to their lead on their first possession of the second half as the Jackets marched 65 yards in seven plays to take a 42-7 lead with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
Roberts scored the TD on a 37-yard gallop.
Polk County tried to keep it close when Justin Green scored on a one-yard run to make the score 42-14 late in the third period, but Kingston came right back with a nine-play, 72-yard scoring drive to make the final score 49-14.
Kitts scored the touchdown on a 14-yard run.
Kingston rolled up 392 yards of total offense in picking up the win.
The Jackets ran the ball 44 times for 278 yards with Roberts (20-131, 4 TDs) and Kitts (10-71, 1 TD) leading the way.
Ott was a perfect 4-4 on the night for 114 yards with Acosta and Kitts catching two passes each.
Miller ran for 231 yards on 22 carries in defeat.
Up next for Kingston is a tough task as the Jackets travel to Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) to take on the defending state champion Warriors. CAK beat Kingston 56-31 earlier this season and Rusty Bradley’s squad is averaging 48.4 points per game.
“We know they’re going to score,” Harrison said. “The key for us is to execute on offense and put two good quarters together early. We were leading for a quarter and a half the first time we played, but couldn’t keep it up. If we can get to halftime anything can happen, especially in the playoffs.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m.
Rushing- Roberts 20-131 with 4 TDs, Kitts 10-71 with 1 TD, Lane 7-57, Edmonds 2-19 with 1 TD, Ott 5-0.
Passing- Ott 4-4 for 114 yards.
Receiving- Acosta 2-63, Kitts 2-51.