Ninth Grade Academy’s Falcons improved their record to 5-0 Thursday night, defeating Franklin County on the road, 42-14.
After Ardmore cancelled their outing with the Falcons, the five games wrap up NGA’s regular season. But, following the victory, Coach Todd Brandon received and accepted an invitation to play in the 2012 Tullahoma Lions Bowl. The date is set for Oct. 23, and the time and opponent will be confirmed later this week at the contract signing.
Ninth Grade Academy has posted a banner season, outscoring their opponents 218-38, including the preseason Lions Club Jamboree.
“I couldn’t be more proud and happy for these kids,” said Coach Brandon. “They started working hard in workouts back on June 1st and have continued throughout the season. The year we’ve had reflects that hard work. It says a lot about the character of this team.
“We played hard tonight,” added Brandon. “We continue to run some of the offense that worked back in the early years of Falcon football, and it continues to be successful today. I’m excited too about the kids being ready to move up to the next level. I was extremely proud of our second team tonight who marched down the field and scored.
“We don’t know who we’ve got in the Tullahoma Lions Bowl yet,” he continued, “just that it’ll be Oct. 23. We find out for sure when we sign the contract. We’re out for fall break, and we’re going to take some time off. We’ve got some people pretty banged up, and it’ll give us some time to heal. We’ll come back and get ready for the Bowl game.”
Against the Rebels, the Falcons kicked off the opening series, and Franklin County moved to NGA’s 32 yard line, eating half of the period off the clock, but the Falcons held, taking over on downs.
With 51 seconds, August Hill took it in from the 18 yard line. Logan Wheat’s kick was good, and at the end of the first quarter, NGA was up 7-0.
But, the prehistory Wing T offense of the Rebels continued to eat up yardage and time on the clock. Starting at their own 39-yard line, Franklin County controlled the ball and pushed it in with 3:40 remaining in the second period. The PAT was no good, and NGA was up 7-6.
Ninth Grade Academy answered twice in the remaining time. In the following possession, quarterback Eli Eason connected with Ryan Hall down to the 25 yard line. After an offsides penalty, the Falcons were at the 31. Hill carried it in the following play, and Wheat’s kick was good. With 2:02, NGA was up 14-6.
But, the Falcons took advantage of a Rebel miscue their following possession, recovering a fumble at Franklin County’s 28 by Jacob Caldwell.
After a pass interference call by the Rebs, Shelton Smith carried it in from the 13 yard line. Wheat’s kick was good, and NGA was up, 21-6, at the break.
In the opening possession of the second half, the Falcons had to punt, their only one during the course of the game.
As the Rebels were on the move, Dylan Anderson picked off a pass at the 49 yard line. At the 4:24 mark, Hill pushed it in for the score. Wheat’s kick was good, and NGA was on top, 28-6.
With 9:36 in the fourth, Hill reached the end zone again, but the play was called back due to a block to the back, then the Falcons bench was penalized. On a second and 46 situation at their own 19 yard line, Logan Wheat took an Arab reverse 81 yards for the score. Wheat’s kick was good, and NGA was up 36-6.
From that point on, Coach Brandon played into his bench. With 4:37, the Rebels scored followed with a good two-point conversion, and it was a 35-14 ball game.
But, the Falcons’ second team offense was not going to be denied the following possession. Starting at their own 45 yard line, NGA was on the move. The last score of the night came as Blake Olinger carried it in from the 16. Wheat’s kick was good, and the Falcons had the win, 42-14.
NGA was flagged 13 times for 106 yards; the Rebels were tagged 4 times for 33 yards.
Offensively, the Falcons put up 303 yards on the ground and 44 in the air.
Hill finished with 140 yards in 17 tries for 3 scores. Wheat was 1 for 81 yards and a touchdown; Olinger, 2 for 46 and a score; Chase Bowden, 2 for 20 yards; and Smith had 1 carry for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Eason was 2 of 5 in the air for 44 yards. Smith was 0-1.
Hall had one catch for 26 yards, and Smith had one for 18 yards.
Wheat was 6 for 6 in PATs.
Defensively, the Falcons gave up 186 yards on the ground in 51 attempts and had no passing yards on two attempts.
For their next action, NGA will play in the 2012 Tullahoma Lions Bowl Oct. 23. Time and opponent has not yet been confirmed.