By JUSTIN ANDERSON | Photos by DEB SCALLY
The Nolensville Knights made the most out of their school’s second homecoming. In front of an electric crowd, the they clinched their first playoff berth with a 42-28 win over Region 4-4A foe Tullahoma.
“The biggest thing I was impressed with was our resiliency,” Nolensville head coach Will Hester said. “We challenged our team defensively. It’s not easy to play defense these days, but our guys controlled the line of scrimmage. It was such a great night for our school and our community.”
Nolensville is fourth in Region 4-4A with a league record of 2-1. It holds head-to-head tiebreakers over Tullahoma and Lawrence County, which are both 0-3 in the region. The top four teams from each region make the playoffs.
Knights quarterback Brandon Wharton was royalty in the win, as he not only led his team to a victory, but was also crowned the school “Prince” on the special night. He found the end zone twice, taking advantage of his feet and making plays when he needed to. He was also very efficient through the air, going 11 of 12 for 133 yards.
The big-framed quarterback was always rolling outside of the pocket and extending the broken plays with his feet, making it hard for the Wildcat defense to make a stop.
The first-half was completely dominated by the Knights. Wharton found the end zone first on a short read-option play to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Shortly after, receiver Zach Campbell scored on a jet-sweep from 13-yards to go up 14-0.
On Tullahoma’s next drive, Nolensville defensive back Colby Anderson returned a Wildcat fumble 47 yards for another score, giving the Knights a 21-0 lead. The momentum really carried the crowd and team all night.
Just before half time, Campbell rushed for his second touchdown of the night to give Nolensville a 28-0 lead at the break.
Tullahoma came in to the game rolling offensively, averaging over 40 points a game, but the Knights defense stepped up when they had to, making just enough plays to win the game.
The Wildcats were victims of their own game, as well. They tallied several penalties, including four delay of game penalties.
Tullahoma came out throwing in the second half, as quarterback Nic Barstad threw a pair of touchdowns; one to receiver Matthew Meadows for a 53-yard touchdown and another to running back Amauri Burks for 63. Barstad also ran for a score. However, it still wasn’t enough as the Knights kept responding with points of their own.
Nolensville running back Colton Dooley cemented the win with a 49-yard touchdown run, giving the Knights a 42-21 lead and eventual win. Dooley had a big game on the ground, rushing for 213 yards on 29 carries.
Nolensville improves to 2-5 on the year while Tullahoma will enter next Friday’s contest 3-4 against Lawrence County. The Knights will travel to Lincoln County.