Grainger County played host to the Claiborne High School Bulldogs football team Sept. 23 for an important league match up. Both teams needed the win to keep playoff hopes alive but Claiborne was coming in with depth issues as Bryce Laws was injured last week. Grainger had some injury concerns as well but they appeared to have an edge at depth. The Grizzlies were wearing pink to help raise awareness to those affected by cancer and the game itself simply looked like it was going to be a Grainger kind of night. The Grizzlies began scoring early and kept it going throughout to get the 64-16 win.
The Grizzlies didn’t let Claiborne much more than touch the football until they had a two touchdown lead.
When the Bulldogs finally got the ball in hand they narrowed the score to 16-8 after Jacob Butler ran 54 yards for the score. Isaiah Cloud completed the two point conversion.
From that score on the game turned in favor of the home team as they rolled away to a 40-8 halftime lead. The Bulldogs Veer offense was being stopped play after play by an aggressive Grainger defense that often featured all 11 players within six yards from the line of scrimmage.
Claiborne’s offense needed to hit a pass play to make the Grainger secondary fall back but each time the Bulldogs tried to pass the Grainger pass rush would create a hurried pass or the ball would slip off the fingers of the receiver.
The Claiborne coaches stayed true to what they practiced all week long and tried to run the ball but could not find the play that resulted in another score until late in the fourth quarter. They tried a pass in the red zone that Ty Stone placed in the hands of Hunter Rosenbalm for six. Cloud once again completed the two point conversion but the time was running out on the Claiborne team. Grainger finished the game off with one last score that placed an impressive 64 points on the board. The game ended with a shocking 64-16 final score.
Grainger had two players with three scores each including Jacob Bunch and Samuel Horton. Grainger running attack compiled 391 yards.
Claiborne had a respectable 204 yards in total offense but the passing attack was basically controlled by the Grainger line play.
Butler had a 114 yards. Butler and Blake Helderman were active on defense with five tackles and Isaac Fugate had three with Lukas Neely recording two.
The Bulldogs record fell to 2-3 and they will face another tough game Sept. 30 as Johnson County will travel into Bulldogs territory.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.