Jamal Blackwell

Franklin County’s Jamal Blackwell prepares to stiff-arm a defender during a scrimmage Monday against Rhea County High School. Blackwell had a rushing touchdown and recovered a fumble as a defensive player in the exhibition contest.

  

The Franklin County Rebels lost to the Rhea County High School Eagles 26-16 at home Monday in a scrimmage to close out their spring-training period.

The teams played for about two hours in the exhibition contest with projected starters and backups for both squads seeing the field.

Franklin County head football coach Cary “Mac” McCurry said that Rhea County was a good team to play in spring training because his players will need to emulate their physical style.

“Rhea County is just a very physical football team and we need to achieve that level of physicality,” McCurry said. “We’re not a passing team this year. We’ve got to be physical and that was good preparation for a physical season.”

The first few drives of the game ended without any scores, but a fumble forced and recovered by Jamal Blackwell gave the Rebels good field position early.

Dakota Waggoner pushed the ball into the end zone a few plays later to make it 8-0 early.

The Eagles marched down the field right after and got a touchdown of their own with a failed two-point conversion keeping the Rebels in front by an 8-6 margin.

However, the Rebels were not able to move the ball much in their next few drives while the Eagles scored another two touchdown to take a 20-8 lead.

Both teams subbed in their projected backups for the upcoming season about an hour into the contest.

The Eagles had another deep drive into Franklin County territory, but a fumble recovered by Jabari Bell would give the Rebels the ball back.

The Rebels took advantage as Blackwell ran the ball into the end zone to cut the deficit down to 20-16.

However, the Eagles added one more touchdown shortly after to put the final deficit at 10 points.

The Rebels got a defensive highlight in the final seconds when LT Taylor picked off a pass from the Eagles on the final play of the exhibition contest.

The scrimmage marked the end of spring training for the Rebels.

They will open their 2019 season on Aug. 23 at home against Coffee County Central High School.