William Blount overcame McMinn County’s furious second quarter rally to win 38-31 and keep its playoff hopes alive.

After trailing 17-0, McMinn County scored 15 straight points to cut William Blount’s lead to 17-15 at halftime.

The Cherokees had all the momentum midway through the game and looked poised to take a lead.

That’s when William Blount answered with 21 straight points in the third and fourth quarters to extend its lead to 38-15 — a lead it did not relinquish.

“We were winning at halftime,” coach Philip Shadowens said. “That’s something we had to remind our kids of. “Before the game if you had told us we would be leading at half, we would take that. Even though we obviously left some points on the field and didn’t finish, we were still winning.

“It came down to the last 24 minutes. It came down to whether we were gonna be ready to win the physicality battle and do what it took to win a football game and we did.”

The Governors took a 17-0 lead with 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter when quarterback Trey Clemmer connected with Jordan Tarver on a 30-yard touchdown strike.

At that point, everything was going right for William Blount. The Govs received the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards. Michael Harris gave William Blount a 7-0 lead when he carried the ball 4 yards up the middle.

A McMinn County fumble and two penalties set the Governors up inside the Cherokees’ 10-yard line. The Govs were forced to settle for a field goal after a dropped pass in the end zone on third-and-goal.

Job Matossian connected on a 22-yard field goal to give William Blount a 10-0 lead.

McMinn County’s offense found its rhythm early in the second quarter. The Cherokees drove down the field and got in the end zone when quarterback Parker Manney dove in from 1 yard out.

On William Blount’s ensuing drive, Clemmer found an open receiver but couldn’t connect with him. A play later, Clemmer was intercepted.

McMinn County capitalized on the interception and put together another touchdown drive. The Cherokees score when Jalen Sharp carried the ball into the end zone from 12 yards out. McMinn County converted on the two-point conversion to cut William Blount’s lead to 17-15.

In the second half, the offensive flood gates opened for the Governors. Clemmer scored on a 1-yard sneak to give the Govs a 24-15 lead. William Blount’s defense stopped McMinn County on its ensuing possession.

Then Trey Clemmer added another touchdown run when he scrambled into the end zone from 9 yards out to give the Governors a 31-15 lead early in the fourth quarter. Clemmer connected with Wyatt Ruckerson to extend the lead to 38-15.

Clemmer led William Blount with two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He threw for 200 yards. Shadowens used one word to describe Clemmer.

“Winner,” he said. “Trey’s a winner. He’s just a sophomore and people forget that. He’s a sophomore that started four games last year as a freshman. Nobody does that in 6A football. He’s getting better and better. His work ethic has always been great, and he’s starting to learn the game. It’s starting to slow down for him out on the field.”

Michael Harris got the bulk of the carries in Kalib Sugden’s absence. He rushed for 78 yards.

Hunt and Sharp scored late touchdowns for McMinn County to cut the lead to the final tally of 38-31.

This account is used by The Daily Times freelance sports writers and for staff reports.

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