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  • Travis Dockery

Yellow Jackets down Alleghany in football playoffs

(Photo by Kelli Graves) Quarterback Logan Caldwell high steps across the goal line for the first score of the game.

Hayesville's varsity football team welcomed Alleghany for round one of the NCHSAA football playoffs. The Jackets entered the post-season matchup with a 5-5 record while the Trojans sat at 3-7. It was Hayesville's first home playoff game in two years.

The Jackets started things off on the receiving end of the field. Michael Mauney caught the kickoff and returned it back to Hayesville's 45-yard line. With 8:28 left in the first quarter, Logan Caldwell completed the drive when he broke free for a 13-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper. Isaac Chandler nailed the PAT to put Hayesville up 7-0 over Alleghany.

In their first attempt at offense, the Trojans went three and out, punting possession back to Hayesville. The Jackets were able to move the ball on the ground and with 3:16 left in the opening quarter, Kyle Lunsford powered through for a 7-yard Yellow Jacket touchdown. Chandler capped it off with another PAT to grow Hayesville's lead to 14-0. The quarter ended with the Trojans driving.

With 11:02 on the clock Alleghany got on the board with a 1-yard touchdown. The extra point barely scooted over the crossbar, cutting the Jackets' lead to 14-7.

It didn't take long for Hayesville to answer. After a lengthy drive, Avery Leatherwood dove into the end zone with an 11-yard touchdown with just under seven minutes left in the half.. Chandler's PAT hit the upright, keeping the score at 20-7 in favor of the Jackets. Both teams had more chances to score, but were unable to capitalize before the half.

After shutting down Alleghany's opening second-half possession, the Jackets used the legs of Taylor McClure to march down the field. After the drive stalled at the 11 yard line, Chandler trotted onto the field for a field goal attempt. After a penalty on the Trojans moved the ball up 5-yards, Chandler nailed the kick to put Hayesville up 23-7 with 7:05 left in the third quarter.

With three minutes on the clock, Caldwell caught an Alleghany punt and ran it 65 yards for the touchdown. Chandler's PAT was good and the Jackets pulled away 30-7. The horn sounded to end the third quarter with the Trojans threatening.

Alleghany finished off their drive with a touchdown at the 10:09 mark. The PAT was good, making the score 30-14 in Hayesville's favor.

The Jackets wasted no time in answering. Caldwell scampered 18-yards for another Hayesville touchdown with 6:07 left in the game. Chandler's kick was good. The Jackets lined up to kickoff leading 37-10.

Refusing to give up, the Trojans found the end zone with 2:09 to play. A 2-point conversion was good, cutting Hayesville's lead to 37-22.

After a failed onside kick attempt by Alleghany, the Jackets were able to pick up a first down and run out the clock to secure the 37-22 win.

Hayesville will hit the road for round two to face Christ the King High School in Huntersville. As for the Smoky Mountain Conference, all six teams advanced to round two.

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