OOLTEWAH, TN (WRCB) For the second time in as many years, Rhea County's Golden Eagles show Ooltewah the exit door in the TSSAA's prep football playoffs with a 14-13 win over the home standing Owls Friday night at Jim Jarvis Field.
Rhea County (10-3), advances to play Sevier County next Friday in Sevierville as Ooltewah concludes the 2015 season at 10-3.
The Golden Eagles won the game despite surrendering five turnovers to Ooltewah's defense, which was without their Tennessee "Mr. Football" candidate Jeremiah Jackson, who did not play after his Tuesday night arrest for domestic violence.
The first of Rhea's nine fumbles on the night would prove the most costly. Running back Cody Bice loses the handle on the ball as Ooltewah's Rashun Freeman scoops and scores for a quick 7-0 lead.
But Rhea County responds immediately with their standard fare of ground game, Mason Stephenson tilling the field on a 4 play, 80 yard drive til it yields the eventual six and the conversion kick would tie it.
Rhea was running the ball with confidence despite being prone to the turnover.
Golden Eagles' quarterback Daniel Dotson caps the drive with a one yard run to make it 14-7 at half.
The score would remain the same until the early 4th quarter, Owls quarterback London Elrod finding his spots, he'd hook it up with Kobe Jones on a 14 yard scoring pass for 6 but the blocked extra point by Rhea's Eddie Davis would loom large as the Eagles play ball possession, milking the clock for much of the quarter as the Owls are held on their final possession.
Rhea wins 14-13 as Golden Eagles Head Coach Mark Pemberton hailed his defense afterward. "Our defense played great. Offensively, we didn't have our best game but they had a lot to do with that, they're well coached, Ooltewah is. So, huge win for our guys. You know, thats finding a way to win when adversity slaps you in the face and we were able to find a way. Eddie Davis with a big block on the extra point and that goes to show you, you play every down."
Davis said he had no idea his block would factor so big in the final score. " We just finished after that, we just came to play," said Davis during a joyous midfield celebration by Rhea County's players and fans. " That was the main goal of today, come to play and big time players come through in big time moments and that's what my quarterback (Daniel) Dotson said ' Just keep working, keep working and you will make a play.'"
" We found a way to win, we turned the ball over but our o-line got the job done, our defense made up for everything we messed up on, they did a great job," said Golden Eagles quarterback Daniel Dotson.
" I thoght our defense played pretty well," said Ooltewah Head Coach Mac Bryan. " They did break some runs on us but the defense did a great job and offensively we couldn't get any rhythm."