By DWANE WILDER
JELLICO—The Jellico High School football team ended a five-game losing streak Friday night with a 32-8 homecoming beat-down of visiting non-district foe Pickett County.
Sophomore halfback Jordan Hammond scored two touchdowns, and freshman quarterback Tony Smith passed for a touchdown and ran for another to lead the Blue Devils, who are now 1-4 overall.
It was the fifth loss in six games this season for the Bobcats. The Blue Devils last beat Pickett County (34-8) in 2007. The Bobcats won the last meeting (28-7) in 2008.
“Our guys were focused,” said Jellico coach Brad Lawson.
“We had a great week of practice. They were very focused and very intense. We had a very productive week. The kids deserve this. They’ve worked hard all year.”
Sophomore speedster Nick Taylor returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a Jellico touchdown, but the play was called back because of an illegal block in the back. Pickett County missed a 32-yard field goal with just less than five minutes left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils finally reached the end zone in the second quarter with Smith plunging over from the one with 5:40 to go. On the prior play, Smith and senior receiver Drew Bruce had hooked up for a 15-yard pass play for a first down on third-and-six. Jellico fumbled on a 2-point conversion attempt, which left the score at 6-0.
Hammond put the Blue Devils up 12-0 with a one-yard TD run after the Bobcats turned the ball over with a high snap over their punter’s head.
Smith hit Bruce with a 5-yard scoring pass in the left corner of the end zone for Jellico’s third touchdown of the night. Hunter Chadwell ran for a 2-point conversion to make it 20-0 at halftime.
Junior linebacker Wesley Webb pounced on a Pickett County fumble at the Bobcats’ 36-yard-line on the first possession of the second half. Hammond cashed in the miscue with an 8-yard TD run with 9:25 to go. The Bobcats thwarted a 2-point conversion attempt.
Dakota Monday, a junior defensive back, picked off a Pickett County pass inside Jellico territory to stop a potential score. Gabe Moon returned the favor for the Bobcats late in the third quarter.
Junior lineman David Harmon scored a defensive touchdown for the Blue Devils, which he intercepted a halfback pass by the Bobcats and returned it 20 yards to pay dirt. That put Jellico up 32-0 with 2:28 left in the third.
Andrew Connor got Pickett County on the scoreboard with a 7-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion run with 5:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils travel to Oliver Springs this week before returning home for three of their last four games of the regular season.
“If we continue to improve, we’ve got a chance to get a couple more wins,” Lawson said.