Last second FG lifts Whitwell past Greenback and into 1A title game
You couldn't pick more opposite teams when it comes to previous resumes in this year's 1A state semifinal. The Whitwell Tigers were making their first appearance in the semis since 1991. Greenback is in search of their fourth straight trip to the state championship after they came home victorious in last year's title game.
The first half was more of a chess match than a football game. Both teams exchanging two scores with Greenback getting a one point advantage after the Tigers failed two-point conversion.
The third quarter saw no scoring and much of the fourth the same. That is until the last five minutes.
Hudson Petty picked off a Bryce Hanley pass with less than four minutes to go in the game. Then after the Cherokees defense sacked Tigers QB Warner Ashworth to set up 2nd and long, it looked as if the Cherokees would prevail.
Never count out these Whitwell Tigers though. Petty took an Ashworth hand-off to the left side and pulled up, completing a pass to Tanner Stewart who took it 67-yds to the end zone. Whitwell converted the 2-pt conversion and took a 21-14 lead with two minutes left in the game.
Greenback didn't even flinch. After fielding the ensuing kickoff at about midfield a Hanley pass to Cole Riddle set the Cherokees up at the doorstep. On 3rd and Goal, Hanley found Blake Morton with 37 seconds to go to tie the game.
We looked poised for overtime until a Josh Wingo run, followed by a huge game from Petty set the Tigers up deep in Greenback territory. With six seconds to go kicker Evan Nunley nailed a 28-yd field goal and punched Whitwell's ticket to their first state title game in school history.
The Tigers defeat Greenback 24-21 and play Cornersville for the 1A state title at Tennessee Tech University next Saturday.
TSSAA SEMIFINAL SCORES:
1A: Greenback 21, Whitwell 24 (Whitwell to play Cornersville in 1A Championship Sat. 12PM ET, in Cookeville)
2A: Meigs Co. 29, Trousdale Co. 32
3A: Calhoun 24, Jenkins 12 (Calhoun to host Peach Co. in 3A Semifinal Friday 7:30PM)
NORTH CAROLINA 2ND ROUND:
1A: Alleghany 7, Murphy 55 (Murphy to play Mitchell in Quarterfinal Friday 7:30PM)
1A: Cherokee 13, Mitchell 21