WHITWELL, Tenn.–Passing isn’t the Indians’ strong suit, but junior quarterback Ethan Barker showed his worth through the air as the Indians took down the feisty Tigers in blowout fashion, 61-20.
His favorite targets, running back Austin Stevens and tight end Kyle Cates, combined for two receptions, two touchdowns, and 79 of his 125 passing yards. Those touchdowns only accounted, though, for a less than a third of the total points scored with seven other touchdowns coming on the ground.
“We wanted to pass against South Pittsburg,” Indians head coach Adam Caine said. “And we did, but every time we tried it, they ended up in our quarterback’s lap, so that didn’t help. We need to be able to throw the ball some, but that’s not really what we do. When we did, it was good to see us make plays and big plays at that. I was encouraged by that.”
The story of the night, though, was Sequatchie County’s inability to hold Whitwell down completely.
“I’m more concerned with the sloppy errors and turnovers,” Caine said. “We can’t even get an extra point kicked. That’s the stuff that’s going to come back and haunt us if we don’t get it fixed. Somehow, we have to get over the hump with our conditioning. I’ve got to have some young guys step up and help. It wasn’t as bad as it looked. We had some kickoffs, that weren’t really onside kicks, that probably made the score look worse than what it already was.”
The Indians marched down the field midway through the 1st quarter, topped off by a 28-yard rush by Stevens to begin the evening’s rampant scoring. Into the second, Sequatchie County would score yet again, this time on a 21 yard pass from Barker to Cates. Whitwell finally answered with 6:23 left in the half with an 86-yard kickoff return by John King. That would cut the lead in half.
Stevens would score on a i yard touchdown with around four minutes left, then, three minutes later, catch a 58 yard pass from Barker and take it to the house. That would be followed by a successful two-point conversion by Hunter Davenport. Barker would take in the next play himself on a 6-yard spurt. Whitwell, again, found a touchdown on a long play, this time by junior Trace Condra for 65 yards.
In six minutes, the two teams combined for 42 points on six scoring drives. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th quarters only add up to a subpar 32 points total.
Stevens, Davenport, Adrian Jackson, and Josh Eisenhart would all take a red zone dip into the endzone during the second half. The Tiger’s Warner Ashworth dove in from the one yard-line halfway through the fourth. The Indians walk away with a 41 point lead, and a 2-0 record heading into region play.
“It’s a different style of ball,” Caine said. “Our region is a different feel. These kids in the Valley all know each other. There’s all this Twitter stuff going back and forth, which I don’t really get into, but it creates a lot of anxiety for the players sometimes. We won’t have as much of that, but it’s a different style of play, schematically.”
While the Indians take on Smith County at home next week, the Tigers will try to regroup as they get ready to face Davidson Academy at home in week three.
“We’re just really inexperienced in a lot of spots,” Tiger head coach Tracy Malone said. “I thought that showed tonight. Sequatchie County definitely won the line of scrimmage battles. You’re not gonna beat anybody good when you make that many mistakes. Our schedule is not kind. Davidson has a quarterback that’s top-30 in the country. It’ll only make us better.”
While Caine and his Indians are in better shape, the passing game and it’s unique structure in the Sequatchie Valley continue to both plague and reward any team that can tame the football and the wind beneath it.
SCHS — 7 | 28 | 19 | 7 || 61
WHS — 0 | 14 | 0 | 6 || 20
1st (5:59) Austin Stevens, 28 yard rush [Martinez Kick Good] SCHS 7, WHS 0
2nd (6:48) Ethan Barker, 21 yard pass to Kyle Cates [Martinez Kick Good] SCHS 14, WHS 0
2nd (6:23) John King, 86 yard KO Return [Nunley Kick Good], SCHS 14, WHS 7
2nd (4:18) Austin Stevens, 1 yard rush [2-pt. Conversion No Good] SCHS 20, WHS 7
2nd (1:48) Ethan Barker, 58 yard pass to Austin Stevens [Davenport 2-pt. Conversion Good] SCHS 28, WHS 7
2nd (1:16) Ethan Barker, 6 yard rush [Martinez Kick Good] SCHS 35, WHS 7
2nd (0:51) Trace Condra, 65 yard rush [Nunley Kick Good] SCHS 35, WHS 14
3rd (8:01) Austin Stevens, 13 yard rush [Martinez Kick No Good] SCHS 41, WHS 14
3rd (6:27) Hunter Davenport, 1 yard rush [Martinez 2-pt. Conversion No Good] SCHS 47, WHS 14
3rd (1:41) Adrian Jackson, 6 yard rush [Martinez Kick Good] SCHS 54, WHS 14
4th (6:04) Warner Ashworth, 1 yard rush [Nunley Kick Good] SCHS 54, WHS 20
4th (2:03) Josh Eisenhart, 14 yard rush [Martinez Kick Good] SCHS 61, WHS 20
(SC) Austin Stevens [116 Yards–13 Carries–3 TD–1 FUM]
(WH) Trace Condra [112 Yards–11 Carries–1 TD]
(SC) Ethan Barker [125 Yards–4 Completions–7 Attempts–2 TD]
(WH) Dawson Holloway [49 Yards–8 Completions–12 Attempts–1 INT]
(SC) Austin Stevens [58 Yards–1 Reception–1 TD]
(WH) Trace Condra [14 Yards–1 Reception]