A powerful ground attack and 2nd quarter surge propelled the Tullahoma Wildcats to a 34-14 win over Columbia on homecoming Friday night at Wilkins Stadium in Tullahoma.
Once again the Cats got off to a hot start as Mason Bratcher hit Jalen Hill on a deep ball for the second week in a row. This time from 71 yards out 45 seconds into the game. Tullahoma failed on a two point try puting them out front only 6-0 with 11:10 to play first quarter.
Columbia answered right back, marching 80 yards to tie the game 6-6 on a one yard run by quarterback Cason Tice. The PAT was blocked to keep the game tied 6-6 with 8:01 left in the first.
Tullahoma punted on their next possession and then Columbia’s second drive stalled after a couple of first downs and the punt was blocked by Will Hyden to set the Wildcats up on the Lion 32 yard line. Four plays later Marvancy Johnson put Tullahoma back in front with a 19 yard touchdown run. PAT good to give the Cats a 13-6 lead with :53 seconds to go in the opening period.
Again Columbia answered the Wildcats score with a score as Kayden McCoy broke off a 69 yard touchdown run. With the PAT the Lions took a 14-13 lead with :04 seconds left in the first quarter.
It appeared a shootout was brewing but Tullahoma then proceeded to take control of the game with a strong second quarter led by the rushing of Marvacny Johnson. He gave the Wildcats the lead for good with his second touchdown of the night again from 19 yards out to cap off a 10 pay 85 yard drive with 8:21 left in the first half.
After a short Columbia punt Johnson looked to have the hat trick but a hold whipped out another marvlous TD run. However on the very next play Mason Bratcher connected with Bryson Steverson on an 8 yard touchdown with the made PAT the Wildcats pushed the lead to 27-14.
On the ensuing possession Columbia had a bad snap on their punt attempt and it was recovered by Tullahoma on the Lion 6 yard line. The Cats then shot the self in the foot with penalites and had to settle for a 40 yard field goal attempt by Grant Chadwhick which was blocked to end the half with Tullahoma leading by 13.
Each team threatened but neither scored in the third. Columbia opened the quarter with a punt after a pair of first down runs by Mccoy. Tullahoma then put together a long drive melting the clock down to 3:55 to play in the quarter but Chadwick missed from 47. The lions hit a deep pass and then got a couple of drive extending runs from Tice before ultimately turning the ball over on downs in a drive that crossed into the early 4th quarter. Tullahoma took over and again was moving the ball before a bad exchange on a jet sweep gave the Lions another chance to trim the lead. However Sam Bobo picked off a third down Tice pass to quickly end the threat. Tullahoma put the game away with a nearly 5 minute drive that closed with a 5 yard touchdown run from Jack Damron.
Columbia took back over with 2:43 to play and picked up a first down trying to get the two minute drill but threw an interception on the games final play.
With the win Tullahoma improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in region 5-5A. Columbia dropped to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in region play.
The Lions visit Spring Hill next Friday at 7:00 while the Wildcats continue a three game homestand with another region battle vs Lawrence County. Coverage starts with the Lester Green McCord and Thoma Wildcat Countdown at 6:30 on 93.9 The Duck. Tullahoma football on The Duck is presented by Tennessee Homes.
Photo: Erin Douglas Silver End Photography