Despite Herculean efforts from senior running back and defensive back Phillip Sellers and junior linebacker and offensive lineman Cole Lusby, the Lions took the loss Friday night falling to Seymour in the second edition of the Battle of Boyds Creek. There was no shortage of offense or big plays from either team Friday night. The eagles took the opening kickoff and on their first play from scrimmage broke off an 84 yard touchdown run to grab an early 7-0 lead. The TKA offense answered back with an impressive 9 play 86 yard drive highlighted by an unbelievable one-handed catch by senior Thomas Coleman and capped off by a Sellers touchdown run.
The Eagles methodically marched back down on their second possession converting 3 crucial third downs en route to taking a 14-7 lead. An explosive kickoff return by Sellers set the stage for the Lions offense to answer, but a fumbled handoff killed the drive on its first play. The Eagles took the ball at their own 45 yard line and capitalized on the short field cashing in on a touchdown pass, and the Lions found themselves reeling in a 21-7 hole early in the second quarter. Sellers, as he did all night, picked up the slack for the Lions and took the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for six, and just like that TKA cut the lead to a single score.
After yet another long Eagle touchdown drive, Senior Isaiah Jeffers brought the Lions fighting back with another great kickoff return setting up a 1st and 10 from the TKA 28 yard line with just under 5 minutes to play in the first half. Another fumble, this time on the QB center exchange, lead to the drive stalling, ending with a missed field goal giving the ball back to the Eagles with a 2 score lead. With his team in serious jeopardy, Jeffers strung together an impressive three play defensive series making or assisting and three consecutive stops to force an Eagle punt late in the first half. A long catch and run from Coleman set the offense up with a chance to cut the lead in half, but the turnover bug bit the Lions again this time in the form of an interception, the Eagles took a knee sitting on a 2 touchdown lead going into the half.
The Lions offense took the ball to open the second half of play and worked its way into a first and goal from the Seymour 4 yard line. Another costly turnover crushed the Lions. While Sellers attempted to power his way into the end zone an Eagle linebacker fired his facemask directly onto the ball popping it into the air and into the arms of a teammate once again haulting the Lion offense. The fumble was probably the lone blemish on an otherwise outstanding night for Sellers who finished with 250 all-purpose yards (116 Rushing and 134 KO Return) and accounted for 2 Lions TDs.
The ensuing Eagle drive, however, was good for 96 yards on 16 plays and ended up in the end zone, all but ending the game as the Eagles took a 35-14 lead with less than a minute to play in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles amassed over 400 yards on the ground in the win. Cole Lusby lead the TKA defense with 23 total tackles. He made several key stops, but the defensive unit could not find a way to pull the Eagles up on third downs to get the ball back to Sellers and the offense. Open field tackling and an inability to make plays on the ball in the air once again plagued the defense which yielded 42 points to its across the street rival in spite of the gutsy performance from its middle linebacker. Head Coach Matt Lowe told his team after the game that he was proud of their effort, and if the Lions can continue to perform with the kind of effort they gave Friday while correcting their mistakes and executing at a higher level, this team has a chance to win a lot of football games.
The Lions will look for redemption this Friday as they travel to Chattanooga to take on Boyd Buchanan. The road ahead certainly does not get any easier for this TKA squad. Last year Boyd Buchanan handed the Lions a 49-26 loss in Seymour. The Buccaneers sport a pre-season number 3 ranking in the state in their class AA poll. They come into the matchup with TKA at 1-0 on the year after being awarded a win via a Tennessee Christian Prep forfeit in week 1, so it will be the Buccaneers first game action of the season when the Lions roll into town on Friday.
New Year, New Look for TKA
Jamboree vs. Carter – 8/11/2016
Thomas Coleman and Brandon Burgess were once again impressive for the Lions’ offense in Thursday’s Knoxville Kickoff Classic Jamboree at Hardin Valley Academy. On the Lions’ first possession, facing a 3rd and long and needing to answer a TD drive by the Carter High School Hornets, Burgess looked to his right, pump faked a throw in the flat to RB Phillip Sellers, and let fly a perfect strike to Coleman down the right sideline that covered 70 yards for a score.
While Coleman and Burgess’s connection was certainly headline worthy, it was the only score TKA could put on the board in the contest. The Lions are still searching for consistency on both sides of the ball. “We can’t have one great play, and then a bunch of bad ones. It can’t be all or nothing. We can’t wait for a team to hit us in the mouth before we adjust and show up to play,” Head Coach Matt Lowe told his team after their quarter of action.
The latter part of Lowe’s comments referred to a Lion defense that had a shaky opening drive of the quarter. Carter took the ball and got the contest started with an 11 play 70 yard touchdown drive capped off by a two yard touchdown pass on a 4th and goal conversion. The defense responded, however, yielding only 28 yards and 2 first downs after the opening drive. Improved open field tackling and more physical play from the front 7 helped the Lion defense right the ship.
The experienced TKA offensive line once again was impressive in pass protection even while playing without starting Center Cody Blazier, who was sidelined as a precaution due to a lingering rib injury. Likewise, the defensive line showed a marked improvement from the Harriman scrimmage a week ago. Senior Defensive Tackle Kyler Collins proved to be a formidable force clogging the middle and making yardage tough to come by for Hornet running backs. Shawn Hamilton turned in a workmanlike performance getting in on several tackles for the Lion defense while protecting Burgess’s blind side at his left tackle spot. Sophomore Levi Hall was also in on a handful of tackles showcasing his nose for the football and physical style of play.
The Lions open the 2016 regular season across the street at Seymour High School in the second ever Battle of Boyd’s Creek next Friday, August, 19th. The Lions look to avenge last year’s 44-26 loss to the rival Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7:30 and a capacity crowd is expected. Please come out and support your TKA Lion football team.
Harriman Scrimmage – 8/5/2016
The 2016 TKA Football Lions took to Huskey Field for the first time in action against another team on Friday night as they hosted the Harriman High School Blue Devils. After the second rendition of this scrimmage, one thing has become clear. These two teams get after each other. The contest was extremely physical. and several Lion players responded well to the challenge. Phillip Sellers ran the ball well and asserted himself as a force for Coach Matt Lowe’s offense. Sellers shrugged off countless would be tacklers as he amassed an impressive amount of yards after first contact. Thomas Coleman made a bid to be the Lions go to big play threat this season as he and junior QB Brandon Burgess connected for a number of nice completions including a long TD on a fade route in the corner of the end zone. Burgess threw it where only Coleman could catch it, and Thomas made a phenomenal play on the ball for six. The offensive front, anchored by senior Justin Adkins, was solid in pass protection for the majority of the night, and were able to open up some holes for Sellers.
Defensively, the Lions are still in search of more consistency, particularly in the box. Junior Cole Lusby and Sopohomore Tommy Gagne were able to find their way into the Blue Devil backfield to record tackles for loss, and Gagne also added an interception to his stat total. Harriman managed over 200 yards rushing on the evening, however, as the Lions struggled to slow down speedy QB Joe Pace. There were a handful of big plays for the Lion defensive unit, but they will need to find a way to string those plays together if they hope to accomplish their goals this season.
Your next chance to see the Lions take the field is this Thursday August 11th at Hardin Valley Academy in the Kickoff Classic Jamboree. TKA takes on Carter High School. The event begins at 7 PM, and the Lions play the third quarter of the event.