On Aug. 30, the 4-0 Smith County Owls came to Sparta to play the 1-1 White County Middle School Warriors. The game had been rescheduled for weather, and it looked like mother nature might be the winner again on a rainy night. After a mandatory lightning delay, the teams were able to take the rain-soaked field about 45 minutes after the scheduled kickoff.
The Owls won the toss and elected to receive. The conditions came into play early as the Warrior’s kick was botched and only went a few yards. This gave the Owls and their quarterback, who many would consider one of the best in the state, a short field. After being held to nine yards in three plays, the Owls were faced with a fourth and one. The quarterback threw a perfect pass for a 30-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good. The Owls took the early lead 6-0 but would not score another point in the ballgame.
Exavior Gamblin took the ensuing kickoff and almost returned it for a touchdown, making it all the way down to the eight-yard line. Two hard running plays later, Cole Sims carried the ball across the goal line and tied the score. Jo Jo Dowell’s two-point conversion gave the Warriors an 8-6 lead.
The Owls fumbled on the second play of the next drive giving the ball back to the Warriors. Jo Jo Dowell had a nice run down to the 20-yard line. Gamblin then carried the ball inside the five where two plays later Sims would score his second touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion failed and the score was 14-6.
The Owls didn’t pick up a yard on their next drive and were forced to punt. A bad snap was picked up by the punter who almost ran for a first down but was stopped short. After having a long touchdown run called back for an alignment issue, the Warriors completed a long pass to J.G. Wallace. A few plays later, Sims struck for his third ouchdown of the night, with a one-yard plunge. Gamblin took the ball over the goal line for the two-point conversion. The Owls had one more drive in the half but stalled after one first down as their quarterback was relentlessly pursued by the entire Warrior defense. The Warriors got the ball and were content to kneel with the ball and head to half-time up 22-6.
The second half started off with a bang as the first two offensive plays for the Warriors were JoJo Dowell runs that resulted in his first score of the night. After a Gamblin conversion, the score grew to 30-6. After an on-side kick recovery, Gamblin connected with Tucker Pinion on a beautiful 53-yard touchdown strike. Dowell took the two-point conversion in this time to make the score 38-6.
The Owls fumbled on their second play of the next drive, giving the ball back to the Warriors. Cole Sims took a simple inside handoff and broke loose for a 73-yard touchdown scamper making the score 44-6. This completed the scoring for the game as many second and third team players saw action in the final minutes.
The Warriors’ next game is at DeKalb County, at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 2. They will be back home to face Prescott Middle School, on Sept. 9.