• Travis Dockery

Run ends for Yellow Jackets

The Hayesville Yellow Jackets swarmed into Mt. Airy on Friday, Nov. 18 with a tall task ahead of them. A convincing win in round against Alleghany and a nail-biting 1-point victory over Christ the King in round two put the Jackets on a collision course with the Granite Bears in round three of the playoffs. The Bears entered the game ranked third in 1A and averaging more than 50 points per game. Hayesville, ranked 12th, were the underdogs, but showed up ready to try to continue their post-season run.

After Mt. Airy deferred, the Jackets received the opening kick. The Jackets managed to pick up a first down before their drive stalled, forcing the first punt of the night from Avery Leatherwood.

Following a pair of penalties and strong defensive play from Hayesville, the Bears broke through with an 80-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good giving Mt. Airy a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Hayesville was again forced to punt on their ensuing possession but solid defensive play forced a turnover on downs after the Bears failed to convert on fourth down. The Jackets' run game was struggling against Mt. Airy and Logan Caldwell went to the air to try to move the sticks. The quarterback's pass was snagged for an interception, giving the Bears possession and momentum as the quarter ended.

It didn't take long before Mt. Airy's star running back Tyler Mason trotted across the goal line for his second touchdown of the game. A successful PAT put Hayesville in a 14-0 hole early in the second quarter.

On Hayesville's next possession, the Bears were just too strong on defense, forcing another Jacket punt. Mt. Airy broke through the line and blocked the punt, setting the Bears up for a touchdown on the next play. The extra point was good and Mt. Airy extended their lead to 21-0.

Just when it looked like the Bears were going to extend their lead, Asher Brown took flight and came down with an interception to stop the threat and give Hayesville the ball. Unfortunately, the Jackets couldn't capitalize and had to punt.

After a few short gains, Mt. Airy went to the air for a 75-yard score. The PAT was no good. With 1 minute left in the half, Hayesville trailed 27-0 which ended up being the score at the break.

The Bears wasted no time in the third quarter as they found the end zone once again. Mt. Airy went for the 2-point conversion and got it to extend their lead to 35-0.

After a pair of possession exchanges, Mason once again scampered into the end zone for the Granite Bears for a touchdown. The PAT was good, making the score 42-0 in favor of Mt. Airy as the third quarter came to an end.

In the fourth quarter, the Granite Bears stayed on the gas pedal with another touchdown after a lengthy drive. A successful PAT put Mt. Airy up 49-0.

Hayesville had one more chance to score, but it wasn't meant to be. Logan Caldwell scrambled to try to give his receivers time to get open but the Bears defense gave chase and brought him down and caused a fumble as the clock ran out on the game and Hayesville's season.

An appearance in the third round of the state playoffs is promising for the future of Hayesville football.

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