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Fayetteville High School’s Tigers may be known as the “come back kids”.
In both their first two playoff games, the team has come from behind. In their first action with Gordonsville, the Tigers rallied after trailing 10-0, then Friday night at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, they spotted Monterey High School 14 first quarter points but came back for the win, 41-22. The Wildcats made mistakes – the Tigers made big plays.
With Moore County’s 40-21 loss Friday night, the Tigers travel to South Pittsburg this week to take on the number one state-ranked Pirates. In a remarkable effort for the first year varsity program, the Tigers are one of only eight Class 1-A teams in the state still playing football.
“We’re still playing as one heartbeat,” Coach Alvin Palmer said of his Tigers. “We got down 14-0, but no one hit the panic button. We lost Dorian Thompson to a broken ankle early in the game and still no one panicked. The guys stepped up, did their jobs, and we finished with the win.
“We have a great bunch of coaches in our district,” Palmer added. “They’ve called me the past two weeks to see what they could do to help prepare, and it’s made a difference.
“We knew Monterey could run the ball and were very physical,” continued Palmer. “Our strength training really helped us Friday night. They’d (Monterey) had problems in the past defending against the pass so we went to the air. They made some mistakes we were able to take advantage of.
“South Pittsburg has an outstanding team,” he added. “We’re proud here on Tiger Hill to have the opportunity to still be playing football.”
Monterey went 71 yards in 12 plays in their opening series for the first score of the night. The two-point conversion failed, and with 7:51 in the first, the Wildcats were up 6-0.
While fielding a punt, the Tigers gave Monterey the ball at their own 26-yard line. Seven plays later, the Wildcats scored and followed with a good two-point conversion. With 1:34 on the clock, the Tigers trailed 14-0.
Tra Emmons took the following kick-off back to the Monterey 42-yard line. Three plays later, Trevonte Emmons connected with Jacob Pigg for the score. Gus Palacio’s kick was good, and with less than a minute left in the first quarter, City trailed 14-7.
With 3:13 in the second, Trevonte Emmons recovered a fumble at the Tiger 31-yard line. On the next play, it was Emmons to Emmons as Trevonte connected with Tra 69 yards for the score. Palacio’s kick was good, and it was knotted at 14-14.
Starting the third quarter Jacob Pigg took the opening kick out to the 44-yard line. Eleven plays later, Trevonte Emmons pushed it in from the one. Palacio’s first PAT was good, but the Tigers were flagged. The second attempt missed its mark, and the Tigers took their first lead of the night 20-14 with 7:15 in the third.
Fayetteville’s next score came off another Wildcat turnover as Isaiah Thompson recovered a fumble on the Tiger 34-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Emmons connected with Jacob Pigg from the 29. The two-point conversion failed, and with 2:43 the Tigers were up 26-14.
Monterey picked up their final score of the night with 9:28 in the fourth. The two-point conversion was good, and it was a 26-20 ball game.
With 7:10 on the clock, Isaiah Thompson punted and put the Wildcats deep at their own one-yard line. The next play, Marquice Emmons recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score. Tra Emmons carried in the two-point conversion, and the Tigers were up, 34-22.
With 4:54 in the fourth, Marquice picked off his second pass of the night. The Tigers started at their own 18-yard line, and in one play Michael Hardin carried it down to the Wildcat two. Trevonte Emmons carried it in for the final score of the night. Palacio’s kick was good, and with 3:55 on the clock, the Tigers had salted away the win, 41-22.
The Tigers finished with 317 total yards of offense, 159 on the ground and 158 in the air. Trevonte Emmons was four of 10, with Jacob Pigg having two catches for 72 yards and two scores; Tra Emmons had two catches for 86 yards and one score.
Michael Hardin had three carries, all big plays, for 147 yards; Tra Emmons, 15 of 13 yards; Trevonte Emmons, 7 for 8 yards and two scores; and John Strong had two carries for 3yards.
Defensively, FHS gave up 315 yards on the ground and 30 in the air. The Tigers recovered three fumbles coming from Isaiah Thompson, Trevonte Emmons and Marquice Emmons; Marquice had two interceptions as well.
Isaiah Thompson led with 12 tackles and one sack; John Strong, nine; Michael Hardin and Mikeal Buchanan, five; Kendrell Hall and Marquice Emmons, four; Trevonte Emmons, Cole Roland and Cain McWilliams, three; Carson Wiseman, Matthew Taylor and Jacob Pigg, two; and Darren Patterson and Andrew Lawson, one.
The Tigers advance to the third round of the TSSAA-1A Playoffs Friday night, traveling to South Pittsburg with kickoff at 7 p.m.