Indian Trail slides past T.A. Dugger, 22-14

star staff

  Despite being outsized and outnumbered, the T.A. Dugger 7th grade football team managed to take Indian Trail down to the wire before losing a heartbreaker, 22-14, in Johnson City Monday afternoon.
  With nearly 60 players in uniform on the sideline and a line that averaged better than 210 pounds, the Jr. Cyclones refused to be intimidated by the Hawks. "Our kids came out and played 100 % the entire game," stated Dugger coach Travis Smithdeal. "We had guys playing both ways and it made a difference in the fourth quarter."
  Indian Trail failed to move the football on their first possession with Chris Kelly, Ryan Thomas, Drew Chambers, and Knox Erysa making key tackles for the Cyclones to stop the drive. Michael Hutchins came up with a big fumble recovery giving T.A. Dugger possession at the 40-yard line.
  Indian Trail regained possession after a 32-yard Matt February punt. Andy Crockett burst through the line and dropped Corey McPhearson for a five-yard loss while Kelly added a sack to stall the Hawks.
  The biggest defensive play of the drive came when Justin Bailey dropped the punter on a fake giving T.A. Dugger possession on the 13. Two plays later Preston Itaro scored from 4 yards out giving the Cyclones an 8-0 leading after adding the two-point conversion.
  Indian Trail got great field possession after a 50-yard kickoff return. T.A. Dugger tried to deny Indian Trail the endzone after two stops for no gain by Itaro and Chambers.
  But a three-yard run by McPhearson and a two-point conversion tied the score at 8. T.A. Dugger wasted no time regaining the lead when Itaro streaked up the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown for a 14-8 advantage.
  Indian Trail tied the score after a 66-yard kickoff return by Amando Canepa who would add a touchdown in the drive tying the score at 14.
  The Jr. Cyclones shut down the Indian Trail offense in the third period as Erysa had a fumble recovery along with a sack to help the cause.
  February kept Indian Trail backed up with some outstanding punting but the Indian Trail numbers started to wear down the Cyclones. Canepa gave Indian Trail a 22-14 lead with a 50-yard touchdown run with 4:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
  T.A. Dugger rallied behind Boles who's 19-yard run on third down kept the Cyclone drive alive. Moving the ball within 20 yards of paydirt the Cyclones turned the ball over on downs when Boles was sacked on a pass attempt.
  Besides Itaro, Nick Jenkins and Bailey did an outstanding job at the fullback position. Boles ran the team well at quarterback.
  Kelly had seven tackles while Erysa recorded six for the game. Chambers and Thomas chipped in with four each. Daniel Moore, Bailey, Crockett and Hutchins had sacks for the Betsy defense.
  "I couldn't be more proud of these boys and the way they played," added Smithdeal. "Some of our kids have never played a football game yet they gave it their all. That's what Cyclone football is all about."