Wild Battle for the Border ends with a Yellow Jacket victory
By Travis Dockery
389 Country Editor
The longtime rivalry between Hayesville High School and Towns County has been on pause the last two season due to different COVID regulations for each state. On Friday, Aug. 19, the latest chapter in the rivalry was played at Frank R. Long Memorial Stadium.
Hayesville received the opening kickoff but was unable to pick up the first down and punted the ball away to the Indians with 10:26 left in the opening quarter. After a touchback punt, Towns County started their drive on their own 20-yard line.
On second down, Asher Brown intercepted a tipped pass and battled his way to the 6-yard line. It took the Yellow Jackets just two plays to find the end zone when Logan Caldwell hit Taylor McClure with an 8-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good and with 9:12 left in the first, Hayesville led 7-0.
After Towns County made progress with a run-heavy drive, Avery Leatherwood forced a turnover on downs when he stopped the Indians' running back behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth down play. After a punt from Hayesville, the quarter ended with Towns County driving.
With 7:28 left in the half, Towns County punched in a 1-yard touchdown to make the score 7-6. Their 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, saving the Jacket's lead. The Indians struck in a big way with 4:46 left in the quarter with a 61- yard touchdown pass to take the lead, 12-7. Once again, Towns County's 2-pt conversion was no good.
Caldwell was the lynchpin in Hayesville's ensuing possession both in the air and on the ground. With 34.1 seconds before the halftime horn, and the ball on Towns County's 24 yard line, coach Chad McClure called a timeout to discuss a plan. A sack, and a penalty moved Hayesville back. As the horn sounded, Towns County was flagged for a late hit on Caldwell out of bounds. Officials determined it was offsetting penalties and it was officially halftime.
The Indians received the kickoff to start the second half, but were quickly forced to punt. Hayesville had a similar stalled drive and punted back to the visitors with 9:08 left in the quarter. Leatherwood's punt pinned Towns County at their own 9 yard line to start the drive.
The punt exchanged continued throughout the quarter. When the horn sounded, Hayesville had the ball on their own 38 yard line with a third and 27 situation.
Hayesville was unable to convert and was forced to punt. With 9:14 left, the Jackets recovered a Towns County fumble which set them up on the Indians 39. Two unsportsmanlike conduct flags on the Indians set Hayesville up in a first and goal situation from the 6. On the next snap, McClure pounded the pigskin in for the touchdown with 8:58 left to play to put the Jackets up 13-12. The PAT slipped just to the outside of the post and was no good.
The momentum from the touchdown carried over to the defensive side of the ball and Hayesville forced the Indians to punt on the next possession. Unable to add to the scoreboard, the Jackets punted away to Towns County with 1:35 left in the game.
With the Indians looking to convert on second and 2, Kyle Lunsford blew through the line for an 8-yard sack, setting up a third and 10 situation. On the next snap, Lane O'Dell wrapped up the Towns County quarterback for another sack. With 1:11 on the clock, the Indians converted a fourth a 12 to get the first down and keep the drive going.
With 46 seconds left, Towns County hit a touchdown bomb, but a flag for offensive pass interference not only negated to play but also backed the Indians up to their own 34 yard line. On the following snap, the Indians' quarterback was flagged for intentional grounding. The penalty resulted in a loss of down and set Towns County up with a third and 44.
At the 33 second mark, the Indians snapped the ball looking for 35 yards. Hayesville was looking for a stop to secure the 1-point victory. Towns County chunked the ball high and far and Hayesville's Tate Roberts snagged it out of the air for the interception.
Hayesville's offense then lined up in the victory formation, took a knee and the 13-12 win.