With Friday's game at East Hamilton tied going into the fourth quarter, it was obvious the team that made the key plays in the last 12 minutes would be victorious. And when all was done, it was obvious which team that was.
The Hurricanes got an interception from Charles Sanders that set up Hunter Moore's tie-breaking sneak from the 2, and Hunter Parker returned another interception for a 42-yard touchdown with 1:44 to play and East Hamilton came away with a 33-21 victory over Dobyns-Bennett.
By winning East Hamilton (2-0), which moved up from Class 4A to 5A this season and is ranked No. 4 in its new classification, put an end to No. 10-ranked the Class 6A Kingsport school's 34-game regular-season winning streak.
"In our infancy, all wins at this level are big," East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood said. "Some kids have started stepping up as the season is progressing."
The 'Canes had both extra-point tries blocked in the fourth quarter and also missed a 22-yard field-goal attempt. But because of the defensive heroics and Matt Milita, who ran for 70 yards on 18 carries, they were able to run off precious time.
"We had two huge defensive plays," Gatewood said. "Charles Sanders was in there because of an injury. He's a junior who's been working hard the last two years. He got his drop like he was supposed to. Hunter the same way. He hawked the ball. Milita started getting some yards because we started making some blocks. You do that and good things start happening."
East Hamilton had difficulty handling the rushing of Indians quarterback Josh Holt, who piled up 138 yards on 17 carries. But he went out for a play -- coach Graham Clark said an official made him because of an injury -- around the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, and Sanders' interception came off reserve Skylar East.
Even so, East Hamilton intercepted Holt three times. Parker had two and Griffin Reagan had the other.
"One thing was they cover pretty good," Clark said. "They're pretty fast. Two, we were throwing on the run oftentimes. A couple of times there we didn't make good decisions, or run very good routes."
Dobyns-Bennett (1-1) had a 201-98 advantage in yards from scrimmage at halftime. But Tre Herndon's 95-yard kickoff return for a TD was a great equalizer and the Hurricanes led 21-14 at the break.
East Hamilton's Jesse Barfield was injured at 6:43 of the third quarter and taken from the field on a stretcher. Early reports are that he was knocked unconcious.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or email@example.com.