***PHOTO: EILEEN CARTER/MAKING MEMORIES PHOTOGRAPHY***
DUNLAP, Tenn.–As the Indians took down the Irish in a 56-28 victory, something special was in the air.
More specifically, through the air.
“We practiced passing all week,” Junior quarterback Ethan Barker said. “We didn’t let a ball hit the ground. It was just clicking this week.”
And Friday night, the ball didn’t fall to the turf until the second half as Ethan Barker was a perfect 4 for 4 in the first half with 114 passing yards before throwing one more in the second half for five yards. That’s an average of 28 and a half yards per completion against a team that shut them down last season.
“Last year we lost four games,” Head coach Adam Caine said. “I told the team before we came out that we’ve settled all the scores, and we’ve got one to go. That game last year left a bad taste in our mouth. It was just important for these guys to come out and settle the score.”
The real story was on the ground, though, as the Indians rushed for 285 yards compared to Notre Dame’s 106. Austin Stevens accounted for 114 of that with three touchdowns on the night. Hunter Davenport dipped in for two as well with 89 yards on 20 carries.
The Irish though had plenty of firepower to incite a barn-burner of a game, scoring four touchdowns in a blowout loss.
“I’ve got a really loose team,” Caine said. “They make me a little nervous at times, but I’m learning to trust them. When we were practicing, it was focus and work time, and when the ball didn’t hit the ground on Wednesday–our offensive day–I was pretty confident that we could get a couple of passes thrown tonight.”
Notre Dame started of the scoring with a 15 yard touchdown from Andrew Banks. Sequatchie County responded with two mid-range scores from Ethan BArker and Austin Stevens. The Irish would tie it up with 10:47 left in the 2nd quarter before two more Indian touchdowns.
The Indians took a 28-14 into the locker room, but what they came out with would keep the postseason momentum rolling.
Senior Alec Hudson muffed the ball on the initial kickoff before weaving his way through defenders for a 99 yard return to the house. That would ignite a second half offense, effectively doubling the score on the night. The Indians were left with their highest combined scoring game of the season as both squads scored a total of 84 points.
“I’ll take them anyway they come,” Caine said. “I guess I’m more at a comfort level when games are low-scoring, but I’ve learned you’ve got to take a playoff win anyway it will come.”
The Irish finish their season at 7-5 as the Indians advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1990. They host East Ridge next week after the Pioneers upset Red Bank in double overtime Friday night.
NDHS — 7 | 7 | 7 | 7 || 28
SCHS — 14 | 14 | 14 | 14 || 56
1st (9:51) Andrew Banks, 15-yard Rush [McMeen Kick Good]–Notre Dame 7, Sequatchie County 0
1st (6:57) Ethan Barker, 7-Yard Rush [Martinez Kick Good]–Notre Dame 7, Sequatchie County 7
1st (1:09) Austin Stevens, 19-Yard Rush [Martinez Kick Good]–Sequatchie County 14, Notre Dame 7
2nd (10:47) Cameron Wynn, 30-Yard Pass to Justyn Baker [McMeen Kick Good]–Sequatchie County 14, Notre Dame 14
2nd (7:33) Austin Stevens, 8-Yard Rush [Martinez Kick Good]—Sequatchie County 21, Notre Dame 14
2nd (2:04) Ethan Barker, 30-Yard Pass to Alec Hudson [Martinez Kick Good]—Sequatchie County 28, Notre Dame 14
3rd (11:45) Alec Hudson, 99-Yard Kickoff Return [Martinez Kick Good]–Sequatchie County 35, Notre Dame 14
3rd (3:00) Hunter Davenport, 2-Yard Rush [Martinez Kick Good]–Sequatchie County 42, Notre Dame 14
3rd (2:47) Andrew Banks, 78-Yard Kickoff Return [McMeen Kick Good]–Sequatchie County 42, Notre Dame 21
4th (9:13) Hunter Davenport, 6-Yard Rush [Martinez Kick Good]—Sequatchie County 49, Notre Dame 21
4th (7:50) Landon Allen, 42-Yard Pass to Cameron Wynn [McMeen Kick Good]—Sequatchie County 49, Notre Dame 28
4th (3:11) Austin Stevens, 8-Yard Rush [Martinez Kick Good]–Sequatchie County 56, Notre Dame 28