BY WAYNE PHILLIPS
SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS
JONESBOROUGH -- A track meet broke out during the fourth quarter of a football game here Friday night, and unfortunately for South Greene, they didn't win the race.
The David Crockett Pioneers (2-3) managed to salvage a little happiness out of an otherwise very bleak week by taking a 52-25 homecoming victory over the visiting Rebels (1-5) in a non-conference football game.
With the horrible bus wreck that injured so many of their students the day before still fresh on their minds, Crockett's football team gave the overflow crowd something to cheer about by breaking free from a tight tussle with the final three touchdowns of the ball game to win going away.
The two schools, despite their wide gap in enrollment (Crockett plays in District 1-3A and the Rebels are in District 2-2A), have played each other many times over the years and it normally is an entertaining game. Friday was no different.
The Rebels, playing with only one senior in their starting lineup Friday night, battled back from a 22-6 halftime deficit to get within three points of the Pioneers at 22-19 in the third period, and they were down only 30-25 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the ball game.
But that's when South Greene just seemed to run out of gas, and Crockett churned out three scores over the final 10 minutes to post the 52-25 win.
Both teams played extremely hard as each had only one win to show for their efforts this year coming into this one. And both teams had their share of sparkling performances.
Crockett's Jordan Turner rushed for 171 yds. on 14 carries and scored once. Chevy Miller scored three touchdowns and a couple of two-point conversions.
South Greene, struggling on offense all year, found a passing attack that was very good, led by quarterback Hunter Waddell who hit 16-of-24 passes on the night for 258 yds. and two touchdowns. The running game was much better as well, with Tim Lightfoot managing 56 yards, but you can't tell it by the stats as team losses were extreme due to bad snaps from center that cost South Greene minus-60 yds. total.
South Greene drew first blood in the game on their first possession of the night, driving 65 yds. in eight plays with Lightfoot scoring on a 1-yd. plunge with 5:42 left in the first quarter. There were two big plays, both engineered by Waddell. He hit Lightfoot on a 38-yd. bomb. Then after a bad snap from center, he chased down the ball and weaved his way on a 21-yd. run that put the Rebels within sight of the goal line.
The extra point kick was wide of the mark.
Crockett responded with their first score on a 5-yd. run by Caleb Arrowood, culminating a 61-yd. drive in eight plays. The Pioneers went for the two-point conversion after each score on the night, and Miller got his first one with 2:18 left in the quarter to put the Pioneers ahead for good at 8-6.
The Pioneers got the ball right back with a bizarre play on the kickoff. The kick looked almost like a Charlie Brown-type whiff, but the football went straight up in the air, much to the surprise of the front line of the Rebels, who couldn't recover in time to down the ball and Crockett recovered at midfield.
Five plays later Crockett was back in the end zone, courtesy of a 31-yd. halfback pass from Turner to Devin Walker. The conversion run failed but Crockett was up 14-6.
South Greene drove right back down to the Crockett 29 before a holding penalty thwarted them. After a three-and-out by the Pioneers, the Rebs took back over at midfield and marched down to the 20 with Preston Shuffler doing the damage with a 9-yd. run and an 11-yd. pass. But the drive stalled and a fourth down pass to the end zone fell incomplete.
Crockett then came up with a big play just before intermission. Only 10 seconds remained until the halftime horn when Turner broke free out of the wing-T and scampered 71 yds. for a touchdown. Chevy Miller's two-point run gave Crockett a 22-6 halftime edge.
But South Greene made some adjustments at halftime and totally controlled the bulk of the third quarter, scoring twice to get right back into the game.
They took the second half kickoff and went 54-yds. in eight plays, overcoming a 28-yd. loss on a bad snap from center when Waddell found freshman Justin Casteel on a 37-yd. pass down to the 8. Waddell hooked up with Casteel from there for the touchdown on the next play. The two-point run by Waddell was stopped short but the Rebs had closed to 22-12.
Crockett ran three plays and punted and South Greene took over at the 28 and drove 72 yds. in 12 plays to score on Waddell's 1-yd. run on a fourth and goal situation. Again the arm of Waddell was key. He hit four passes, the longest a 31-yarder to Casteel. Manny Alcantara and Matt Nicademus also caught balls. Christian Cisneros came on to kick the PAT this time and it was good, with the Rebs closing the gap to 22-19 with 2:14 left in the third.
But the Pioneers then got their offense in gear. They had the ball four more times in the game and scored each time.
A 5-yd. TD run by Miller and a pass from Ryan Burger to Walker made it 30-19.
South Greene stormed right back. Waddell hit Alcantara and Casteel on passes, then uncorked a 35-yd. strike to Lightfoot for the touchdown. The two-point run failed, but it was 30-25 with 9:43 left in the game.
But it was all the home team the rest of the way. Quarterback Burger hit Walker on a 70-yd. pass to the 2 from where Miller took it to the house. Turner ran in the conversion for a 38-25 lead.
Waddell was sacked on a fourth down play and Crockett quickly scored again on a 4-yd. run by Miller to make it 44-25. A fumble after another bad snap from center set up the Pioneers at the Reb 28, and Shawn Parker scored on an 8-yd. run. Burger ran the conversion for a 52-25 final.
The Pioneers finished with 452 yds. of offense, 320 of those rushing. South Greene had 298 total yards, with 260 of those passing.
South Greene has an open date next Friday.