TAD holds off Sevier with late stop
Published 10:19 am Wednesday, August 19, 2015
T.A.Dugger opened strong on Tuesday evening at Brown-Childress Stadium. Despite heavy rain to open things up, the Junior Cyclones led 9-0 at halftime, and took a 19-16 victory over John Sevier.
The Junior Cyclones won despite a tremendous effort from Warriors running back Keyo Taylor who rushed for 153 yards on seven carries and had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“He is a load,” stated Junior Cyclones head coach Johnny Burleson. “I’m glad we don’t have to tackle him anymore. We were giving them yards on the outside and so we made an adjustment. We got our ends a little bit more to the outside and it worked, especially on that last drive. But this was a nail-biter all the way.”
The Cyclones suffered a turnover on their first series as Zane Whitson picked off a Jaxton Holly aerial. But the defense was up to the task, forcing a Warriors punt. TAD took over at the 42-yard line and marched 58 yards on nine plays with Holly taking it across from 19 yards out.
The point after kick was wide so the Cyclones settled for a six point advantage.
TAD held strong on the next Sevier series, forcing a fumble on fourth and four which was recovered by Kobe Bryant. The Cyclones took over in prime field position. In all, the Warriors fumbled six times, and lost three of them.
Seven plays later, seventh grade kicker Kade Hensley drilled a 37-yard field goal to stake TAD to a 9-0 lead with just 50 seconds left in the half.
The Warriors got up off the deck early in the third quarter as Keyo Taylor took off on a 72-yard touchdown gallop on second and eight to cut the lead to 9-8 at the 6:15mark of the period.
Hensley added a 28 yard field goal with 3:08 left in the period.
TAD took advantage of the third lost fumble of the game from Sevier and Nick Street took the pigskin 20 yards to paydirt to stake the Cyclones to a 19-8 lead.
“Fumbles and turnovers are tough to overcome,” Warriors head coach Stephen Baker said. “When you have two teams as evenly matched as these two are, you can’t turn the ball over and we did.”
Just as quickly, however, Sevier got itself back into the contest on an 80-yard kickoff return down the home sideline by Taylor and Jet Harris’ two point conversion, making it 19-16.
Needing to take some time off the clock, TAD went out on four downs turning the ball over to Sevier on the 38-yard line. The Cyclones’ defense then turned in a huge stop that was aided by a holding call.
On fourth and seven from the 21-yard line, Harris lost the handle on a pitch from quarterback Zane Whitson. He was able to recover the loose ball, but TAD took over on downs and was able to run the clock out.
“We finally made the stop when we had to,” Burleson said. “Any time you come out in your first game with a win it feels great. Jaxton Holly has grown up and he has good field presence, and I have to give credit to the offensive line. Great pass blocking by all of them. Big conference win and confidence booster.”