Playoffs start tonight for middle school football teams

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By Dwane Wilder

LaFollette and Jacksboro took different paths to victory last week during their final regular season football games.
However, both the Owls and Eagles will set out on the same road tonight (Thurs.) when they host opening round games in the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association Playoffs. Jacksboro will play Avery Trace at 6 p.m., while LaFollette will face Horace Maynard at 7 p.m.
“It’s a good chance to move on to the semifinals,” said LaFollette coach Cody Parker.
“Once you get to that point, anything can happen.”
The Owls (5-3 overall) have lost two in a row, including a 26-20 setback to Huntsville last week. LaFollette got the ball first in OT but failed to score after a controversial pass interference penalty on fourth down.
“They (officials) missed a call that should have given us an automatic first down,” said Parker.
“But we should never have put ourselves in that situation to let the game go into overtime.”
Owls quarterback Ethan Jeffers completed 12 of 18 passes for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns, the first of which covered 54 yards down the left sideline to Tommy Lawson and tied the game, 6-6, with 1:05 remaining in the first quarter.
Huntsville pulled in front, 12-6, at halftime on a short touchdown run by Caleb Byrge. He scored all four touchdowns for the Bears.
LaFollette rallied from a 20-6 deficit in the second half with a touchdown in each of the last two quarters to force overtime. Jeffers fired a 28-yard strike to Dakota Dossett with 1:55 to go in the third quarter. Jeffers then completed a pass to Lawson for the 2-point conversion to get his team within 20-14.
Then, with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Dossett scored on a 50-yard pass play from Jeffers. A 2-point run failed, which left both teams tied 20-20.
The Owls got the ball first in overtime but failed to reach the end zone on four downs from the 10.
Lawson caught eight passes for 172 yards and a TD, while Dossett ended up with 95 yards and a score.
Jacksboro left little to chance in its game last week at H.Y. Livesay. The Eagles (5-3 overall) blasted the home team 40-0 with touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.
Paul Courdle scored a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 121 yards on seven carries. He ran for a 66-yard touchdown, caught a 64-yard TD pass from quarterback Kaine Peel and also scored a pair of 2-point conversions.
Jacksboro’s other touchdowns came from Daniel Elkins on a 13-yard run, Joseph Elkins on a 70-yard interception return and Jesse Sharp on a 63-yard punt return. The Eagles led 24-0 at halftime.
“We played good, sound defense,” said Jacksboro coach Mike Miller, whose defense also scored a safety.
“They got inside our 10 twice but never did score.”
Peel had a productive night at quarterback with 122 yards passing and a touchdown on 7 of 10 attempts.