PIKEVILLE, Tenn. — If there was ever any doubt about Signal Mountain's stable of running backs, coach Bill Price erased it Friday night.
More than a dozen backs, including the second- and third-team quarterbacks, got in the game as the Eagles rolled to a 48-0 District 7-AA victory at Bledsoe County in which the running clock started less than two minutes into the second half.
"We made a lot of mistakes and it wasn't the clean game we wanted, but it pays dividends any time you can get experience for the younger guys, and the defense played pretty well," Price said.
The Eagles' first shutout of the season allowed them to move above the .500 mark at 2-1. They held the Warriors to five first downs and 131 total yards.
"They're good. Real good," Bledsoe coach Jason Reel said after his Warriors' home opener. "We didn't quit, though. We took a whipping from a good team and didn't quit. That was really important to us."
Bledsoe has less than a dozen seniors on this year's squad, which has lost two in a row after a season-opening win at Cumberland County.
Signal Mountain rolled up 411 rushing yards on 48 carries and finished with 499 yards of total offense. Senior fullback James McClellan missed the 100-yard mark by a single yard but cut his season carries average almost in half with just 15.
The 260-pounder scored the game's first TD and then, showing a spot of versatility, hauled in an 11-yard pass from Jack Teter to boost the Eagles' lead to 20-0 with 1:48 still to play in the first quarter.
His touchdowns sandwiched another Teter scoring toss, this one to freshman Garrett Hensley.
Sophomore Nathan Johnson, a backup, added both second-quarter scores, and only a missed PAT kick kept the Eagles from opening the second half with the running clock.
Diamez Franklin, who finished with 84 yards on eight carries, took care of that quickly with a 22-yard run with 10:22 left in the third period, and reserve quarterback Corey DeHart closed the scoring with a 9-yard pass to Harrison Moon.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...