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  • Travis Dockery

Yellow Jackets suffer first loss of the season

After two weeks on the road, the Hayesville Yellow Jackets returned to their home field on Friday, Sept. 16 to host Tuscola as part of the annual Homecoming celebration. Both teams were undefeated coming into the game, but the visiting Mountaineers gave a dominating performance and handed the Jackets a 42-14 loss.

Tuscola received the opening kickoff and made the most of it, returning the kick all the way for a touchdown. The Mountaineers' offense went on to add another touchdown in the opening quarter while their defense shut down the Yellow Jackets. The opening quarter ended with Tuscola leading 14-0.

In the second quarter, Hayesville was able to do a better job in containing the Mountaineers, but the visitors were able to find the end zone once to increase their lead to 21-0. For the Jacket offense, every time Hayesville was able to make gains, flags would move them back. Time run out on the first half with Tuscola holding a commanding 21-0 lead.

Halftime activities included the crowning of a new Homecoming queen, Lila Roberts. Emma Shook was named first runner-up.

Following the extended break, the teams returned to the field to finish the battle. The third quarter was the best one for Hayesville. The Jackets got on the board when junior running back Taylor McClure pounded across the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run. Isaac Chandler tacked on the PAT to make the score 21-7 with the Mountaineers leading. The Mountaineers soon answered with a touchdown and extra point of their own. With 24 seconds left in the quarter, Yellow Jacket quarterback Logan Caldwell hit McClure for a 36-yard touchdown and Chandler nailed the PAT to cut the deficit to 28-14.

It looked like Hayesville had finally grabbed the momentum, but that fizzled with the end of the quarter. In the fourth, it was all Mountaineers. Tuscola tacked on a pair of touchdowns to reach the eventual final, 42-14.

The Jackets have a bye this week as they prepare to start the Smoky Mountain Conference portion of their 2022 schedule.

Leaders vs Tuscola

Logan Caldwell: 1 passing touchdown, 111 passing yards 6 tackles

Taylor McClure: 1 receiving touchdown, 1 rushing touchdown, 9 tackles, 81 yards

Kyle Lunsford: 83 yards, 4 tackles

Michael Mauney: Interception, 74 yards

Isaac Chandler: 2 PAT.

Avery Leatherwood: 5 punts for 174 yards

Smoky Mountain Conference Standings

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