Kevin Fritts | Fritts Photography
Tellico Plains' Casey Hamby runs into the end zone in overtime against Midway Friday at Tellico Plains High School, after catching a swing pass from Dwayne Hollingshead. The touchdown set up the Bears' winning two-point conversion.
|Published: 1:37 PM, 09/26/2013
||Last updated: 1:38 PM, 09/26/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
TELLICO PLAINS â€” John Mullinax calls it "Rebel."
The details of the play: A double reverse to wide receiver Brett Nicely, who passed the ball back to quarterback Dwayne Hollingshead for the two-point conversion in overtime, lifting Tellico Plains to a 29-28 home win over Midway Friday night.
"I stole that from Maryville High School," said the Bears' second-year coach, referring to that exact same play the Rebels under coach George Quarles ran in a similar situation near the end of the Class 6A state championship game against Whitehaven last year.
"Me and coach Quarles have known each other a long time."
But Tellico Plains did not get whistled for an ineligible receiver as Maryville did â€” which resulted in a 36-35 loss for the Rebels.
And while no state title was on the line for Tellico on Friday, a win over a quality District 3-A opponent and a winning record are certainly fine prizes for a program still trying to build â€” and a team picked to finish dead last in the district before the season started.
"Itâ€™s a tough district, so we've got to keep battling," said Mullinax, whose Bears are now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in 3-A.
And battle they did to be in a position to win, even after giving up a scoring drive in the last two minutes of regulation while nursing a 21-13 lead. Midway's standout quarterback Shandon Lyle completed three passes, the last one 33 yards to Mason Woody to get to the Tellico 5-yard line, where his legs finished off the rest of the 39-second scoring drive. Lyle then ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21 and force overtime.
And Lyle went right back to work in the extra period â€” which in TSSAA rules essentially gives each team a first and goal from the 10-yard line. With Midway getting the first shot on offense, Lyle first had two incompletions, then he fired on third down to Zach Qualls on a seam route to put the Green Waves ahead.
"Everybody knows heâ€™s a leader on this team, and when it comes down to it, everyone knows he's going to get it done," said Green Waves coach Joe Campbell about his senior signal caller.
An illegal procedure penalty on Midway (3-1, 0-1) backed it up five yards, but kicker Caleb Splawn hit the extra point anyway to put the Green Waves ahead for the moment, 28-21.
The Bears took only one play to respond with a touchdown, with Casey Hamby taking a Hollingshead swing pass down the right sideline into the end zone and make Mullinax ask his team a question.
"And I just said, 'Hey, we put it in, weâ€™re going to use it when we need to use it,'" Mullinax said. "We couldn't stop No. 5, and I asked the players, 'Hey, are we going for the win? You don't make it, we lose.'"
And so the Bears decided to go for the win right there, rather than play for a second overtime period â€” to "Rebel" against conventional wisdom.
"And it looked like we ran it perfect," Mullinax said, admitting afterward that he "kind of didnâ€™t watch" the winning two-point conversion.
The rest of the night was hardly perfect â€” for either squad. Midway committed 12 penalties for 110 yards and gave the ball away four times. And Tellico itself had three turnovers â€” the last one a fumble that set up the Green Wavesâ€™ tying drive at the end of regulation.
The Green Waves struck first in the game, rolling down the field in 11 plays over 72 yards and 4:35 off the clock to take a 7-0 first quarter lead. The Bears responded with a 16-play march that took up the rest of the first quarter, but they stalled on fourth-and-goal at the Midway 8 to come up empty on the first play of the second quarter.
But Tellico forced a fumble on Midway's next possession, with Devin Coller â€” wearing No. 17 in honor of Dakota Rinehart, who suffered a season-ending injury against Copper Basin the week before â€” recovering to set the Bears up at the Midway 33. Five plays later, a Hollinghead pass to Ryan Bookout and a Bryce Carter point after tied the game at 7-7.
Midway came right back with a seven-play drive that took 2:38 to go up 13-7, but Splawn missed the point after. The Bears answered with their second touchdown drive of 11 plays capped by a 4-yard Collier run, and Carter hit his PAT to give Tellico a 14-13 edge it took into halftime.
The Bears' first fumble of the contest ended their first drive of the third quarter, but they took it right back when Blake Hunt got the interception on a jump ball Midway's Lyle threw up for his receiver.
Tellico drove down to the Midway 23, but a personal foul backed it up and eventually caused that drive to stall on downs.
"I'm disappointed we got down there two or three times and didn't score," Mullinax said. â€œWe've got to get better at that."
Midway's offense also stalled for much of the third quarter, though. And after another stalled Bears drive early in the fourth quarter in Midway territory, Lyle threw his second pick of the night into the waiting arms of Nicely.
"They were very prepared for our quarterback," said Campbell about Lyle, who finished 13-for-25 with 182 yards passing. "They keyed in on him, and they did a good job."
This time, the Bears took advantage, with Collier bobbling a swing pass briefly before securing it and taking it nine yards on a fourth-and-5 to give Tellico some crucial insurance points, and Carter's kick made the margin 21-13 with 6:13 left in the contest.
Midway and Tellico exchanged fumbles, but it was the Bears' fumble with 1:55 left that proved costly to their efforts to seal the game in regulation, and Lyle wasn't going to struggle forever.
"I donâ€™t know if you can contain him all night," Mullinax said of the Green Waves quarterback, who had keyed two straight 53-point performances before coming to Tellico Plains. "He's too good an athlete. He was offensive player of the year on our district last year. He's a good player. Iâ€™m glad heâ€™s a senior, so we wonâ€™t have to face him again."
Tellico Plains will next play its Homecoming game Sept. 27, hosting a winless Sale Creek team that has been blown out by Oakdale and Meigs County.
TELLICO PLAINS 29, MIDWAY 28, OT
M 7 6 0 8 7 â€” 28
T 0 14 0 7 8 â€” 29
M 7:13 â€” Mason Woody 20 pass from Shandon Lyle (Caleb Splawn kick)
11 plays, 72 yards, 4:35, 0-7
T 9:24 â€” Ryan Bookout 10 pass from Dwayne Hollingshead (Bryce Carter kick)
5 plays, 33 yards, 0:54, 7-7
M 6:42 â€” Woody 14 pass from Lyle (kick no good)
7 plays, 76 yards, 2:38, 7-13
T 2:14 â€” Devin Collier 4 run (Carter kick)
11 plays, 76 yards, 4:19, 14-13
T 6:13 â€” Collier 9 pass from Hollingshead (Carter kick)
7 plays, 51 yards, 2:19, 21-13
M 1:16 â€” Lyle 5 run (Lyle run)
5 plays, 60 yards, 0:39, 21-21
M â€” Zach Qualls 10 pass from Lyle (Splawn kick)
3 plays, 10 yards, 21-28
T â€” Casey Hamby 10 pass from Hollingshead (Hollingshead pass from Brett Nicely)
1 play, 10 yards, 29-28
First Downs 17 25
Rushes-Yds 27-124 45-162
Passing Yds 182 213
Cmp-Att-Int 13-25-2 18-33-0
Penalties-Yds 12-110 4-40
Turnovers 4 3
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