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  • Travis Dockery

Jackets come up just short to Murphy Bulldogs

Fans filed into Frank R. Long Memorial Stadium Friday, Oct. 7, for the annual showdown between the Yellow Jackets and their chief rival, the Murphy Bulldogs. Hayesville fought until the final horn, but came up short, losing 21-14.

The game started off with a 0-0 stalemate as the rivals were sizing each other up through the early minutes of the first quarter. With 2:54 left in the stanza, Murphy broke through with a 35-yard touchdown run to take the early 7-0 lead.

Hayesville quarterback, Logan Caldwell

It looked like the Bulldogs were going to pull away when they punched in a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:53 left in the second quarter. A successful PAT grew their lead to 14-0. Refusing to let the game get out of hand, the Jackets battled back and with 55.4 seconds left before the halftime break, Hayesville quarterback Logan Caldwell found Kyle Lunsford for a 38-yard touchdown. Isaac Chandler's PAT was good, making the score 14-7 at halftime.

Defense was the theme of the third quarter as neither team was able to add to their total. In the fourth, Murphy was able to drive the ball into the red zone and blasted through the Jackets' defensive line from the 4-yard line for the touchdown. A extra point made the Bulldogs' lead 21-7 with 6:51 left to play.

With limited time and facing a quality opponent, it would have been easy for Hayesville to give up, but these Jackets don't settle for easy. Hayesville kept battling back and with 47.4 seconds left, Caldwell scampered for a 4-yard touchdown. Chandler's PAT brought the Jackets to within 7 points of Murphy, but that was as close as they would get. The final horn sounded, handing the Bulldogs the 21-14 victory.

The loss moves Hayesville to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the Smoky Mountain Conference after playing two of the toughest teams in the league. Next up for the Jackets is a trip to Bryson City on Friday, Oct. 14 to face the Swain County Maroon Devils. Kickoff is set at 7:30 p.m. Those unable to attend the game can watch it on the Maroon Devils Sports Network on YouTube.

Leaders vs Murphy:

Logan Caldwell: rushing touchdown, passing touchdown, 152 yards, 5 tackles, fumble recovery

Kyle Lunsford: receiving touchdown, 73 yards, 4 tackles

Taylor McClure: 92 yards, 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

Michael Mauney: 13 yards, 8 tackles

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