G-P tops Happy Valley in overtime

Published 11:37 am Saturday, October 15, 2016


Sometimes the little things add up to very big things and that was true on Friday night as Happy Valley fell in overtime to Gatlinburg-Pittman 25-22 on Warrior Hill.
Two missed point after kicks by Happy Valley proved to be the difference in this one, and a 35-yard field goal from kicker Joey Renfro was the difference.
“I take 100 percent responsibility for this one,” said Warriors head coach Jason Jarrett. “I didn’t have my guys prepared as well as I should have. We had a tough loss to Rockwood last year in the first round of the playoffs, and that motivated us for this year. Maybe this one can work the same way. We’ll get better from this.”
In the second period Happy Valley (7-1, 4-1 Conference) got on the scoreboard on a four-yard run by senior running back Austin Hicks to cap a nine-play drive. The Warrior then stopped the Highlanders on downs, taking over at the 29-yard line.
From there HV drove to the midfield stripe where, on second and 10, G-P defensive back Collin Garza came up on a pitch to Dylan Street and the resulting collision resulted in their face masks getting entwined.
A short scrum broke out with both sides being assessed unsportsmanlike penalties and HV was forced to punt. Once again the Warriors defense stiffened and forced a G-P punt and Happy Valley took over at the 45-yard line.
With the clock winding down, the Warriors drove to the G-P 18-yard line from where sophomore kicker Michael Harrah drilled a 35-yard field goal to stake HV to a 10-0 lead with 34.6 seconds left.
Gatlinburg was hit with a roughing the kicker penalty, so HV kicked off from the G-P 45 yard line. The Highlanders answer was a razzle-dazzle end around to Garza who returned the kick 57 yards to the Happy Valley 37 yard line. The Warriors tacked on 15 yards with a facemask penalty to the 22-yard line and Highlanders quarterback Albert Werner connected with Matthew Sides to the eight-yard line.
Werner then hit Zayquan Gillespie on an eight-yard touchdown pass with just over three ticks left on the clock.
“Albert has struggled some this year,” said Highlanders head coach Benny Hammonds. “But he came up big on a couple passes for us tonight. He has no desire to play football past this year. He wants to be an MD, and he has the grades to do it.”
G-P got the ball to open the second half, and the Warriors defense once again forced a punt with HV taking over at the 20-yard line. Hicks completed a nine play drive with a four-yard scoring run, but the point after was missed making it a 16-7 HV lead.
The Highlanders seemed to gain momentum from the miss and drove 48 yards on eight plays to cut the lead to 16-14.
As the fourth quarter opened, the Warriors went on a scoring drive of 71 yards in eight plays with quarterback Sage Haun taking it in from 13 yards out. Once again the kick failed to leave HV with an eight-point lead at 22-14.
G-P forced a punt from Happy Valley and took over in great field position at the Warriors 46 yard line. From there Werner scored on an 11-yard keeper and on the two-point try eluded several HV pass rushers and threw across the field to Gillespie to tie the game at 22-22.
G-P took defense in overtime and stopped HV on downs, and from the 18-yard line Renfro nailed the field goal with plenty to spare.
“There was no pressure on me at all,” Renfro said. “I practice that kick 20-30 times a day in practice, so I didn’t even think about it.”

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