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Public Notices

April 23, 2014

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The Wait Is Over – Greeneville vs. Fulton Up Next

Originally published: 2013-11-16 02:17:41
Last modified: 2013-11-16 02:18:25

For the entirety of the 2013 football season, there has been one game that the majority of Class 4A fans have been eagerly anticipating.

The wait is over. Next up: Greeneville at Fulton.

Fulton has been ranked No. 1 in the state the entire season, while Greeneville has been right behind at No. 2. Neither team has been played within 22 points this year.

They will meet in the state quarterfinal round next Friday at 7 p.m.

And after last night's second-round playoff games, the matchup got a whole lot more interesting.

The Greene Devils cruised to a 49-20 win over No. 3 Elizabethton. Fulton, meanwhile, received a four-quarter challenge from Sullivan South before three late touchdowns helped the Falcons pull away for a 41-19 victory.

Fulton defeated the Devils 42-14 in the second round of the playoffs last year on their way to a state championship. Greeneville is anxious for another shot in what many consider the de facto state championship game in Class 4A this year.

"With (Fulton) beating us last year, we're definitely ready to go up there. We're going up there to beat them and get to Cookeville," Greeneville senior receiver Hays Culbreth said.

Senior Trevor Wright added: "It would mean everything in the world to beat (Fulton) because we know how good they are and respect them fully. We think we can matchup with them toe-to-toe and go after them and definitely go out and get a win."

The Falcons have claimed the top spot in the AP state poll every week this season, and in an overwhelming fashion. The Greene Devils have been on their heels the whole way, claiming the second spot for all 11 weeks the poll was voted on.

While it would seem that the pundits would project a close contest between these two powerful teams that has been far from the case. Many have perceived Greeneville to be an overwhelming underdog if the two were to meet.

The Devils will now get their shot to prove the naysayers wrong.

"We've taken it as kind of disrespectful - Fulton, they're a good team but we've been overlooked a lot," Wright said. "We're ready to go out and show East Tennessee and the whole state that we're one of the best teams in the state."

When looking at the state of Class 4A, the matchup could very well be the toughest test the winner of this matchup will face the remainder of the postseason.

"You have two of the top teams going at it in quadrant one, and it's definitely a state championship type game," Wright commented. "I know a lot of fans will be there and it will be a big-time game."

It is understandable why Fulton is well respected. The numbers they have put are video-game like.

Going into Friday's game with Sullivan South, running back Daryl Rollins-Davis had gained 1,917 yards on the ground while averaging 15 yards per carry.

Receiver Xavier Hawkins, who was offered by Oregon State last week, has 833 yards receiving and another 444 rushing. Those numbers are impressive, but what is astounding is that Hawkins is averaging 28 yards every time he touches the ball.

As a team, Fulton is averaging 13.4 yards every time it snaps the football.

"I think going into the game as an underdog will change our team's mentality a lot," Wright said. "We'll definitely work hard because this is a game the whole team has wanted all year. We know what they did to us last year and we're ready to go."

Greeneville has no Rollins-Davis in the backfield but by committee they have put up comparable numbers. Quarterback Zack Finchum has 732 yards on the ground, and running backs Quan Wilson and Desmond Dabbs have added 503 and 601 yards, respectfully. The trio has combined for 34 rushing touchdowns.

Greeneville also has threats on the perimeter. Wright and Culbreth have combined for 1,326 yards and 20 touchdowns, while they each have picked up 23 yards per reception this season.

As a team ,Fulton is scoring 62.4 points per game to rank first in the state in that category. Their defense is second in the state, allowing just 5.2 points per game.

Just like in the polls, Greeneville is right on the Falcons' heels, allowing 5.5 points per game to rank third in the state. The Devils have the second-ranked scoring offense, one spot behind Fulton scoring 54.5 points per game.

It is safe to say that both teams have explosive offenses but reading too much into point production may not be the best measuring stick, considering neither team has had to play a four-quarter game all year up until last night.

The impressive margins both teams have produced are proof that both teams are very good, but the regular season schedules they played were less-than-impressive.

The two squads likely took on the best teams they have faced all year last night. The Devils shook off their opponent, Elizabethton, much like they have all year. Fulton had to battle the Rebels to come out on top.

"We came out and played hard, (Elizabethton) was expecting to win state." Culbreth said. "We're still looking to win state, so we wanted to knock them off and send a statement to whoever we're playing next and let them know we're taking care of business."

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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