There is little doubt Knox Fulton was the better football team in Friday’s Class 4A state quarterfinal game.
But it should also be noted Greeneville had a real opportunity for an upset as the Greene Devils left a potential 42 points on the field:
— Fulton fumbled the opening kickoff, but recovered. (7)
— Greeneville fumbled the next kickoff. Fulton recovered and scored. (14)
— Greeneville faked a punt near midfield and failed. Fulton scored in three plays. (21)
— After driving to Fulton’s 9-yard line, Greeneville fumbled. Fulton recovered and scored in two plays. (28)
— After a six-yard punt by Greeneville, Fulton scored in one play. (35)
— On the game’s final play, Greeneville threw an interception in the end zone. (42)
The Falcons won 40-20 in what looks like an very comfortable margin of victory. And there was never a moment in the game where the Falcons were really teetering on the brink. Still, Greeneville had a shot.
A good team that is an underdog usually has an experience like Greeneville had against Fulton. At the end of the game, it isn’t always the sheer talent that beats a team. Mistakes play the biggest role.
Jerad Huskins exited the elevator on the way up.
After leading Unicoi County’s football team to back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in 27 years, the Blue Devils head coach recently resigned.
Huskins said he actually made up his mind back in March, and notified the school’s administration about his end-of-season intentions.
“The biggest thing is family,” said the 34-year-old Huskins. “I’ve got a six-year-old son and a two-year-old son. As a head coach when you are trying to rebuild, you put a lot of time into it and your own kids and family get neglected.
“I missed a lot, and I don’t want to wake up five, 10 or 15 years from now and wish I had been there more for my family. And I feel with us making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, it’s a good time to step away and focus on family.”
The Blue Devils went 4-7 this season, winning three of their last five regular season games to reach the Class 4A playoffs. Unfortunately they were seeded No. 8 and had to face powerhouse Knox Fulton and lost in a blowout.
Huskins inherited a program that had lost 18 straight games, and went 3-17 in his first two seasons. In his final three years, the Blue Devils went 12-20.
“My biggest goal was getting it turned around,” said Huskins. “Now we have a foundation for success. The biggest thing you can’t see on Fridays is the culture and the mindset of the program. There is a work ethic and accountability now. They care about the program. That carried over to the win column, and we won more than we had in a long time.”
Huskins said he’s already had offers from five other schools to continue as a coach.
“I don’t think I will be coaching for a while, but who knows what the future holds,” he said. “I may get back in it down the line, or I may be out and decide I don’t want to get back into it.
“My wife has been great. She has picked up the slack and carried the load. I’m tired of asking her to do that. I want to be home more, and watch my boys as they grow.”
Correction: Elizabethton’s 10-win football season was the ninth in school history. Six of those seasons came in the modern day (2013, 2012, 2009, 1999, 1998, 1997), but the Cyclones also had 10-win seasons in 1954, 1951 and the 1938 state championship team.
A reader, Kevin Sams, pointed out the 1938 championship was the only one decided by an on-field playoff prior to the TSSAA’s system beginning in 1969.
Elizabethton was the second area school to claim a state title. Dobyns-Bennett claimed mythical titles in 1923, 1935 and 1936.
Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.
Points of interest: Knox Fulton set the all-time state scoring record in Friday’s win, moving its season total to 767 points.
By the time they finish, it’s likely the Falcons will set a mark that will pretty much be untouchable. They likely have two games left, and would be a giant favorite in both games.
Greeneville held the previous record with 748 points in 2010.
Playoff odds: Here’s a look at who is favored, and by how much, for this week’s TSSAA semifinal contests:
Class 6A — Maryville by 2 over Murfreesboro Blackman, Hendersonville by 2 over White Station.
Class 5A — Knox West by 10 over Cleveland, Henry County by 21 over Clarksville Northeast.
Class 4A — Knox Fulton by 27 over Knox Catholic, Giles County by 18 over Memphis Trezevant.
Class 3A — Alcoa by 17 over Upperman, CPA by 2 over Lewis County.
Class 2A — Knox Grace by 2 over Trousdale County, Trinity Christian by 8 over Adamsville.
Class 1A — South Pittsburg by 7 over Coalfield, Nashville Christian by 3 over Union City.
Boys basketball games of the week: (Today) Elizabethton at Hampton, (Today through Saturday) Hardee’s Classic in Jonesborough, (Friday) Johnson County at Hampton.
The Bulldogs will be at home for both games, but these are major early season challenges.
Girls basketball games of the week: (Today) Elizabethton at Hampton, (Friday) Johnson County at Hampton.
Coaches like to see where they stand early, and the Lady Bulldogs should get a crisp picture with these rivalry contests.
Dobyns-Bennett rides an impressive opener into the top spot in this week’s Prep Top 10.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 1-0 2
2. Unicoi County 4-0 3
3. Elizabethton 3-0 4
4. Science Hill 4-1 1
5. David Crockett 4-1 5
6. Tennessee High 2-0 6
7. Sullivan South 1-2 7
8. Daniel Boone 2-2 8
9. Johnson County 1-2 9
10. Sullivan East 3-1 10
Science Hill is the clear-cut No. 1 while Hampton uses a win over Happy Valley to jump three spots in this week’s girls rankings.
Team W-L Prv
1. Science Hill 4-0 1
2. Elizabethton 2-1 2
3. Tennessee High 1-0 3
4. Sullivan South 2-1 4
5. Volunteer 8-0 8
6. Hampton 3-1 9
7. Daniel Boone 2-2 5
8. Happy Valley 3-1 6
9. Cloudland 3-0 10
10. Sullivan East 4-1 10
(tie) Johnson County 3-2 7