by darren reese
SUN SPORTS EDITOR
DANDRIDGE - "As soon as they stepped on the field, you knew they were ready for business."
That was an observation made by the Jefferson County play-by-play announcer about visiting Greeneville early in the second half of Friday night's game.
That was an accurate way to describe the Devils' performance against their old Inter-Mountain Athletic Conference rivals.
Greeneville methodically out-gained the Patriots 283 yards to negative 10 in building a 27-0 halftime lead and went on to roll to a 41-0 victory at Leroy Shannon Field.
Despite the lopsided effort, GHS head coach Caine Ballard wasn't particularly pleased.
"If we would have beat Jefferson County by 41 and Morristown West by 40 twenty years ago, they would have burned down the town," Ballard said. "Tonight, I didn't think it was good enough."
"I'm very frustrated with our offense. We played sloppy. I don't know what it was, I just can't put my finger on it right now."
Greeneville showed off some of its weapons early in the game. Quarterback Zack Finchum was 16-of-19 passing in the first half for 183 yards.
Finchum finished the game 19-of-25 for 228 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw his first interception of the season.
Finchum's running abilities also helped the Devils stay balanced. He totalled 89 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Greeneville had 119 yards on the ground and finished with 351 yards of total offense.
Quan Wilson and Malcom Blair each caught five passes.
It was the Greeneville defense that shown brightest, limiting Jefferson County's standout running back Dearies Jones to 15 yards on 21 carries. The Patriots finished the game with just 37 total yards and didn't pick up their initial first down until the 9:35 mark of the third quarter.
"That was the question mark coming in," Ballard said of his defense, "and dang if they haven't rose to the occasion."
"Our first team has yet to give up a score this year, even though we put them in a couple of tough situations tonight."
Greeneville took the opening kick-off and marched 75 yards in 10 plays, capped by a six-yard touchdown run by Wilson. Finchum was 4-for-4 for 54 yards in the drive.
The only time the Devils were stopped during the first half was when they shot themselves in the foot. Finchum was intercepted by Seth Latimer on Greeneville's second possession of the game. The Devils also failed on a 4th-and-2 try from the JCHS 35 midway through the second quarter.
Those speed bumps did little to slow the Greeneville momentum though, as Finchum and company continued to move the ball down the field with ease.
The Devils made it 14-0 when Finchum and Dylan Fields hooked up from 11-yards out with 2:44 left in the second quarter.
Greeneville posted two touchdowns in the final 3:34 of the first half. Wilson made the first of the scores when he plowed in from one yard out.
After Jefferson County lost 24 yards on its ensuing possession, the Devils went 50 yards in six plays, capped by a three-yard run by Finchum. Jefferson County faced a 3rd-and-24 during the series, but Finchum hit Wilson for back-to-back completions, including one from 4th-and-5 from the 12 that took it down to the three.
A missed extra point left the visitors up 27-0 at the break
Greeneville wasted no time adding to that total out of the locker room as Wilson made his presence known on defense. He jumped a pass by Caleb Johnston on the second play of the third quarter and returned it 30 yards to the house to make it 34-0.
The pace of scoring slowed down in the second half, but the Devils brought the TSSAA mercy rule into effect with 9:45 left in the fourth quarter when Finchum weaved a pass through a couple of Jefferson County defenders and found Fields in the corner of the end zone.
The clock ran continuously after that.