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  • Travis Dockery

Hayesville Comes Up Short In A Barn Burner With Swain

(Photo by Travis Dockery) Hayesville's Isaac Chandler leaves a Swain defender on the turf and heads up the field.

The Hayesville Yellow Jackets looked to pick up their first conference win of the season on Friday, Oct. 6 when the hosted the Maroon Devils of Swain County. Hayesville entered the contest with a 4-2 record following ther 7-point loss to Murphy. The Devils, meanwhile, had a perfect 6-0 record, coming off of a 20-0 win over Andrews.

Hayesville won the coin toss and on the opening kickoff, Swain tried an onside kick, but the Jackets were ready and recovered to give themselves a short field to start their opening drive. Unfortunately, Hayesville couldn't take advantage and was forced to punt.

On Swain's first play from scrimmage, the Devils connected for a pass, but the receiver fumbled. Big Lane O'dell recovered the ball to put the Jacket offense back on the field. Once again, the Devil defense held strong, stopping Hayesville on a fourth down play to regain possession.

The back and forth continued until Hayesville attempted a field goal from the 20-yard line with 4:02. With rain falling, Isaac Chandler's kick failed to split the uprights, turning the ball over to the Devils. The opening quarter ended with Swain facing a fourth and long.

Swain opened the second quarter with a 13-yard punt, setting the Jackets up on their own 49-yard line. It didn't take long for the Devil's to again put their offense on the field, following an interception. Michael Mauney snagged an interception for Hayesville with 8:35 left, but fumbled it back to the Devils on the return.

With just under two minutes left in the half, a Swain pass popped lose and Tre Graves was in the right place at the right time to grab the interception which gave the Jackets the ball on the Swain 37-yrad line. With 28.5 seconds left before the half, Taylor McClure took the handoff and ran it 19 yards for a Yellow Jacket touchdown. Chandler's PAT was good, giving Hayesville a 7-0 lead.

Swain was trying to go deep with a long pass, but Hayesville's Ben Bethel went up to take it away from a potential receiver for the interception to end the half.

With 11 minutes left in the third, Hayesville caused and recovered yet another Swain fumble, to takeover on the Devils' 40-yard line. The Yellow Jackets could not turn the possession into points and punted the ball away.

Play was paused with 1:09 left in the third quarter when Jacob Jones failed to get up after a defensive play. Medical staff tended to Jones, eventually taking him off the field on a stretcher.

After a lengthy delay, officials allowed the teams to do quick warm-up drills before continuing play. The quarter ended with the Jackets keeping Swain stopping Swain on a first down run,

The fourth quarter started the Devils on Hayesville's 7 yard line, but Dawson Devane broke through to push them back. However, on the next play, Swain's quarterback found a wide-open receiver for a Devil's touchdown. Swain went for 2 to take the lead but Mauney stopped the runner just shy of the goal line to keep Hayesville in the lead, 7-6. During the play, McClure was helped of the field with an apparent shoulder injury.

On the ensuing drive, the Yellow Jackets were successful with a 69-yard touchdown throw from Tate Roberts to Chandler. The PAT was blocked, holding Hayesville's lead to 13-6 with 10:06 left to play.

The Devils took possession and began methodically marching down the field. The drive culminated with a Swain touchdown with 5:03 left in the game. The Devils went for 2 again to try to take the lead, this time they were successful, taking their first lead of the night, 14-13.

After the kickoff, Hayesville started their drive on the 43-yard line. A personal foul not negated a positive-yardage run and backed the Jackets up. Hayesville was hit with another penalty on third down, making it fourth and 9. The Jackets were then flagged for a false start, turning it into a fourth and 14 situation. Roberts let it fly and found Chandler, but the receiver's feet was out of bounds, which gave Swain the ball.

The Devils ran the option and moved the ball quickly down the field, scoring touchdown and PAT with 3:00 to go, extending their lead to 21-13.

Hayesville picked up a first down, putting them on Swain's side of the field. A complete pass gave the home team another first down and kept them marching towards the end zone. Roberts took two shots at the end zone, both passes falling to the turf, which brought up third down. The third down pass made contact with a pair of potential receivers, but again hit the ground.

Head coach Chad McClure called a timeout to discuss a fourth-down plan. A pass over the middle was on target to Mauney, but tight defense from the Devils kept the receiver from making the catch. Swain took over on downs and ran out the clock, giving the visitors the 21-13 victory.

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