Jr. Vikings blitz T.A. Dugger, 22-0


Photo by Kristen Luther
T.A. Dugger's Wendall Loving watches the football into his hands on a pass reception against Vance.

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com
Everything was perfect for the last home football game of the season for T.A. Dugger's eighth-grade football team on Monday evening. The 'Betsy Jr. High band was rocking the stands, a great crowd of supporters filled the stadium, and an absolutely gorgeous evening set the stage for the opening kickoff.
The only problem was that someone forgot to tell the Vance Jr. High Vikings from Bristol that this was supposed to be the Jr. Cyclones' grand finale, as the Vikings flustered the Jr. Cyclones on both sides of the ball to take a 22-0 win at Brown-Childress Stadium.
"This is the most frustrated I've been since being here," said TAD head coach John Oakley, reflecting back on the contest. "We knew what Vance was going to do and they did it anyway by just blowing us off the ball. We haven't stopped anybody in two and a half games."
Running out of the power 'I' and mixing in an occasional pass or two, Vance was able to score seemingly at will as the Vikings powered their way to an impressive 276 yards of total offense.
After a scoreless first eight minutes of the contest, Vance began a long march of 91 yards to a score over a four-minute stretch of the period. Matt McClellan hit pay dirt on a 21-yard scamper to put Vance on the board first.
Quarterback Cory White found Trevor Crump wide open in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Vance lead.
Disaster struck the Jr. Cyclones on their next possession as a fumble put Vance back into business at the TAD 41 after Jacob Brock recovered the ball. A White to Thomas Turnbull toss placed the ball at the 6 with 1:19 remaining in the half.
Jeff Baker took the ball in from five yards out on a second down pitch to push the edge to 14-0 with 44 seconds left before the break. Baker's halfback pass to Turnbull was perfect and the Vikings took a 16-0 lead.
Jr. Cyclone quarterback Wes Anderson tried to get his team on the board by hitting Wendell Loving with a 26-yard pass to Vance's 46-yard line, but time ran out on the drive, thus ending the Cyclone threat.
The only other major threat TAD had on the night came on the opening kickoff of the second half, as the Jr. Cyclones took over at their own 32. With a grinding ground game taking the ball to the 44-yard line of Vance, Anderson then hit his big receiver, Bo Carter, over the middle for a 32-yard gain to the 12.
Frustration set in from there as three straight plays went for losses, back to the Vance 24, setting up a fourth down and 21 for TAD. A pass to Loving in the end zone bounced off his hands incomplete to give the ball back to Vance on a turnover on downs.
"We shot ourselves in the foot at least four or five times tonight when we had a chance to score," stated Oakley. "We are going to have to regroup and figure out how to stop somebody in the process."
Vance shot the final hole in the Cyclones' sails as White found Trevor Crump on a two-yard touchdown pass with 5:51 remaining to play after driving the ball down the field on the turnover.
Anderson finished the night hitting five of seven passes for 140 yards with Loving hauling in three of those tosses for 98 yards. Justin Peters caught the only other pass besides Carter's grab for four yards.
Loving had another outstanding night defensively, as he recorded eight stops to pace TAD. Anderson added seven tackles while Justin Fuqua, Carter, and C.J. Campbell added five each.
Jesse Potter, Jordan Coleman and Evan Ellis contributed with four hits each.
The Jr. Cyclones wrap up their regular season next week against Indian Trail in Johnson City.