By Jerry Richmond, Sports Staff Writer

Trousdale County came up on the short end Friday night against Whitwell, falling 17-14 in a battle of two teams ranked in the top 10 of their respective classifications.

The Yellow Jackets (5-3) lost on the last play of the game as senior Austin Nunley kicked a 20-yard field goal for the Tigers (7-0).

“I was very proud of our kids’ effort Friday night against a good Whitwell team,” Trousdale coach Brad Waggoner said. “It was a game that came down to three or four plays and they just made one more play than we did.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Tarvaris Claiborne (7) kneels over Whitwell’s Trace Condra (22) after making a tackle.

The Jackets got on the scoreboard first on their second possession with a 2-yard run from sophomore Kobe Ford. Junior Keyvont Baines was wide left on his kick but the Jackets were up 6-0 and the Tigers trailed for the first time this season.

On the first play of the second quarter, Whitwell scored on a fourth-down pass from senior Dawson Holloway to junior Hudson Petty. Nunley’s kick put Whitwell on top at 7-6.

The Tigers would increase their lead midway through the third quarter as Petty caught another fourth-down pass that resulted in a 37-yard touchdown. Nunley’s kick made it a 14-6 game.

Trousdale County had an answer as the Yellow Jackets put together a long drive that culminated in a 5-yard scoring scamper from Baines. The junior added a 2-point conversion run to tie the game at 14 with 1:53 left in the third quarter.

Both teams traded possessions in the fourth quarter, with each having some success with their respective ground games but unable to push for a score.

The Yellow Jackets tried to convert a fourth down from just across midfield, but Baines’ pass for Ford was overthrown and Whitwell gained possession with 3:41 remaining to play.

The Tigers started the drive at their 45 and went to a Wildcat formation with Petty taking shotgun snaps. After some modest gains on the ground, Petty found senior tight end Garrtt Shrum downfield for a 32-yard gain. Trousdale senior Isiah Harper made a touchdown-saving tackle, but the play set up Whitwell inside the Trousdale 5.

Whitwell let the clock run down then called timeout with 3.2 seconds left to set up Nunley’s kick. The Jackets called their own timeout in an effort to ice the kicker but to no avail.

Baines led the Jackets’ offense with 17 carries for 85 yards and his touchdown.

Junior defensive end Jake Gregory led the defense with 12 tackles, two for loss. Sophomore linebacker Tarvaris Claiborne followed with nine tackles while junior Xavian Seay had seven tackles and Ford six.

“Even though we lost the game, I thought our kids competed better than they have since the Friendship game,” Waggoner said. “Both of their scores came on fourth-down plays where we were in position, but their guy just made the play. We will learn from it and move on. I think this game will help us come playoff time.”