DUNLAP, Tenn.–If there’s anything senior linebacker Hunter Davenport doesn’t like to do, it’s hyping up hyping up his game.
He’d rather show you on the field.
Playing two ways, do-it-all Davenport ran for over 10 yards a carry, scoring a 66-yard touchdown in the first quarter as a fullback. He did that while dominating the Pirate offense and helping his team keep South Pittsburg scoreless in the second half. He was second in rushing behind senior Austin Stevens, who had 192 yards on 19 carries.
“He’s one tough son of a gun,” Coach Adam Caine said of Davenport. “He’s the heart and soul of our team. The run he had early on was huge. I’ve got a bunch of tough kids, and they weren’t about to give up. That was awesome to see. The past two years have been dog fights [against South Pittsburg].”
The Pirates were a tough team to tango, especially with the explosiveness they showcased in the Jamboree. It was a big concern coming into week one with a secondary that seemed to fall apart in the midst of a classic-in-the-making.
“After that run by Davenport, we lost some kids to cramps,” Caine said. “We had some minor injuries, and we were piecing together in the secondary. I was worried sick about the secondary coming in. The sheer volume of offense he’s got in that program, that’s collegiate level stuff. We were just fortunate to come out on top of that one.”
The Pirates wouldn’t wait until the third quarter to score like they did in 2015’s matchup. In fact with 9:19 left in the first, Cade Kennemore ran for a 17 yard touchdown with the kicker missing the PAT. The Indians would retaliate with Davenport’s 66-yard burst right down the middle.
Later in the second, the Indians scored two minutes in with a 9 yard run by Pickett to put the Indians up 14-6 after two made PATs for Abraham Martinez. South Pittsburg scored twice in the second on a 75-yard pass from quarterback Hogan Holland to Lajuan Ford and a 4-yard gainer by Garrett Raulston. The Pirates went for two on the first touchdown and missed the PAT on the second to put themselves up 20-14.
Coming out on the second half, both teams traded empty possessions before Sequatchie County’s Austin Stevens scored on a 6-yard run coupled with a missed PAT to tie it up at 20 a piece. In the fourth, with about five minutes to go, the Indians pulled ahead with a 1-yard run by quarterback Ethan Barker. The ensuing drive for the Pirates resulted in a 10-yard loss, a miraculous first down, and a failed hail mary on fourth down.
The Indians would run the clock out on the game and on the offseason that pitted South Pittsburg as threat to Sequatchie County. And though they were a threat, it was averted by the purple and gold faithful.
“That’s why I do what I do,” Caine said. “Our schemes aren’t going to be as flashy as other peoples’, but all I’m trying to do is get these kids to play hard, play physical, and play for each other. And I felt like we did it tonight.”
The Indians travel down the road to Whitwell next week to face the Fighting Malones while South Pittsburg takes a longer road trip up the Valley to Pikeville to face the Warriors of Bledsoe County.
For the Indians, they beat the hype South Pittsburg brought to the table, and Davenport couldn’t be happier as he’d rather line up and smack the hype out of somebody.
SCHS — 7 | 7 | 6 | 7 || 27
SPHS — 6 | 14 | 0 | 0 || 20
(SC) Austin Stevens [19 Carries–192 Yards–1 TD]
(SC) Hunter Davenport [9 Carries–98 Yards–1 TD]
(SC) Ethan Barker [15 Carries–41 Yards–1 TD]
(SP) Joseph Lilly [6 Carries–31 Yards]
(SP) Cade Kennemore [2 Carries–28 Yards–1 TD]
(SP) Garrett Raulston [7 Carries–21 Yards–1 TD]
(SP) Hogan Holland [21 Attempts–10 Receptions–196 Yards–1 TD–1 INT]
(SC) Ethan Barker [4 Attempts–2 Completions–22 Yards]
(SP) Lajuan Ford [3 Receptions–87 Yards]
(SP) Cade Kennemore [6 Receptions–82 Yards]
(SP) Jess Morrison [1 Reception–24 Yards–1 TD]
(SC) Spencer Ables [1 Reception–9 Yards]
(SC) Kyle Cates [1 Reception–13 Yards]
***ALL PHOTOS BY EILEEN CARTER/MAKING MEMORIES PHOTOGRAPHY***