Franklin County High School’s Rebel football team got its feet wet Saturday night when it took on Soddy-Daisy in the 2014 Best of Preps Jamboree.
With a 20-minute continuous clock, the Rebels received a small portion of time on Finely Stadium’s field — home of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs football team — under the lights.
Facing a District 5-AAA team, the Soddy-Daisy Trojans, the Rebels saw a challenging passing attack.
“I was glad we came out against a passing offense to let our secondary get a really good look,” said Rebels head coach James Carr, who also mentioned his team doesn’t get those looks in practice.
Despite entering the red zone twice, the Rebels lost 7-0 but made mistakes that Carr said the team can fix in practice.
“I expected us to make some mistakes, and luckily we did. Those mistakes are things that we can work on in practice, things that we can get better at,” Carr said.
Starting on the defensive side of the ball, the Rebels gave up 20-yards in penalties on the Trojans opening possession in the form of an off sides and a pass interference penalty.
The penalty yardage put the Rebels into a bind defensively as the Trojans marched down the field with an opening drive of five first downs.
However, the Rebels stood tall and didn’t allow for any big plays. A slant pass moved the ball to the 2-yard line where the Rebel defense stiffened on first and second down rush attempts, stuffing the Trojans running back.
On third-and-one, the Trojans finally crossed the goal line by connecting on another slant route. The score put Soddy-Daisy in front 7-0.
With the ball placed at their own 30-yard line, the Rebels went to work offensively. Junior quarterback Dalvin Russell got the initial nod at signal caller conducting the Rebel offense down the field.
Early in the drive, sophomore Mike Leslie carried the ball three times for a total of 13-yards, and Jai Kinslow carry twice for 6-yards.
After an incomplete pass the drive seemed like it might stall on third-and-four. Attempting a rollout pass, Russell found some open field and ran for an 18-yard gain down to the 32-yard line.
A hold negated a nice run by Kinslow, forcing a first-and-twenty from the 42-yard line. The lost yardage was made up plus some on the following run, but unfortunately the ball was knocked loose for a turnover at the 17-yard line.
The Rebel defense retook the field and looked exceptionally strong, causing a quick three-and-out and forcing a punt on fourth-and-five.
Regaining possession with just three minutes remaining, the Rebels had to hurry if they wanted to score.
Senior Dylan Griffin got the nod at quarterback on the possession. The drive began with a 9-yard run by Kinslow, followed by a first down producing carry, courtesy of Leslie.
Hurrying back to the line, the Rebel’s ran a counter with back Timothy Farris, who took it 18-yards.
Following a run by Leslie, coach Carr used his only time out of the scrimmage to give his team an opportunity to score now on the 11-yard line with just 55-seconds remaining in the contest.
On the final two plays, Griffin rolled out looking for receiver Keaton Tipps who was barraged in coverage by Trojans, Griffin kept it for a gain of five yards.
Rushing to get back to the line of scrimmage, the Rebels attempted a run play that resulted in a fumble to end the game.
Minus mistakes, the Rebels looked at times like they could control the game. Carr, as noted above, looks to fix the mistakes made in practice this week.
Cleaner play will have to be a priority for the Rebels according to Carr, who says the team can’t afford penalties.
“Penalties will always hurt us because we are control offense, we control the game, tempo, the clock, and penalties set us back,” he said.
The Rebels will open the regular season this Friday night back in Chattanooga, as they take on the Chattanooga Central Purple Pounders.