JASPER, Tenn. — Marion County quarterback Matt Zeman spent last fall watching the state playoffs after the Warriors won one regular-season game.
Marion County already has that many postseason wins in 2012 and is in the third round. Zeman and his brother combined for six touchdowns as the Warriors pulled away from Trousdale County for a 48-21win Friday night. They had a first-round bye.
"I believe I was watching Tyner last year," Zeman said. "I definitely wasn't feeling like this."
The Yellow Jackets (8-4) were led by quarterback Marquel Claiborne, who had 82 yards on 12 carries including a touchdown run, and he threw for 69 yards and a touchdown.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," Trousdale coach Kevin Creasy said. "Special-teams plays killed our momentum, big plays killed our momentum and turnovers killed any chance of a comeback."
Matt Zeman, a senior, gained 64 yards and scored from 17 and 43 yards out, which helped the Warriors build a 20-7 lead going into halftime. He didn't have a single carry in the second half.
Blake Zeman, a sophomore fullback, scored four touchdowns and rushed for 143 yards on 19 carries. He also forced a fumble in the first half and intercepted a pass in the second.
"Blake led by example and he put together a complete game," Marion coach Mac McCurry said. "He became mature tonight."
Blake scored from 3 yards out in the first quarter. Then Matt scored his 17-yarder before Trousdale put its first points on the board with a diving catch by Seth Calhoun.
Matt Zeman delivered a blow before halftime with the 43-yard draw play on which he cut to the right and dove for the front pylon. His brother added a 6-yard scoring run for a 28-7 lead for Marion County early in the third quarter.
Trousdale mounted a comeback. Claiborne ran into the end zone from 21 yards out. The Yellow Jackets forced a fumble, and Dillon Burnley scored from a yard out to pull the Yellow Jackets within 28-21. They were in the game with 12 minutes and 12 ticks to tock.
Then a Zeman made the difference. Blake broke several tackles on his way for a 48-yard touchdown and a 34-21 lead going into the fourth quarter. He and Chandler Willis added fourth-quarter touchdowns for the final margin.
"They play hard and have a never-say-die attitude," Creasy said. "They are drastically improved."
And this year, Warriors are on the field instead of the stands during the playoffs.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...