By Jerry Richmond, Sports Staff Writer

Trousdale County showed great resolve in its quarterfinal game at Watertown on Friday night, as the Yellow Jackets twice rallied in the fourth quarter to claim a 22-19 victory over the Purple Tigers.

Junior Cameron Rankins gave the Jackets (11-1) the lead for good with 4:17 to play and Trousdale leaned on its defense to secure the win.

“These seniors, these upperclassmen, everybody on this team, you could see it in their eyes that they had worked too hard, that they had sacrificed too much to let it all go in just a few minutes,” said TCHS coach Blake Satterfield. “When we came here in Week 3 that was for a region championship, but round three it’s a little more than a region championship. It’s for a chance to play in a state championship and I’m proud of them.

Watertown won the coin toss and took the ball to start the game. After a couple of first downs the drive stalled and the Tigers punted the ball. The Yellow Jackets went three and out on their first series and punted, giving Watertown the ball at the Trousdale 49.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Cameron Rankins goes over Watertown’s Elijah Williams (15) to score the eventual winning touchdown in the Yellow Jackets’ 22-19 victory.

The Purple Tigers (10-3) drove to take an early lead as sophomore quarterback Brayden Cousino found junior Brandon Watts for a 22-yard touchdown. Senior Cole Miller’s kick put Watertown up 7-0 with 3:18 left in the first quarter.

Trousdale County responded with a long drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown run from senior Kobe Ford. Junior Heath Chasse’s kick tied the game at 7.

With 3:50 left before halftime, Cousino called his own number and outpaced the Trousdale defense for a 60-yard touchdown run. Trousdale senior Jay’dynn Hayward blocked the extra point but the hosts took a 13-7 lead into the locker room.

Neither team did much in the third quarter but with the Jackets in need of a big play, senior Ben Chumley delivered with a 50-yard run to set his team up deep in Watertown territory.

Rankins would finish the drive by muscling in from two yards out and Chasse’s kick put Trousdale County ahead 14-13 with 11:15 remaining.

Watertown would regain the lead on a 3-yard run from senior Deramus Carey on a drive helped by 30 yards of penalties on the Yellow Jackets, who were flagged for a personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct on the same play. An attempted two-point pass was broken up but left the Purple Tigers ahead 19-14.

Trousdale County refused to quit, marching back down the field. Rankins converted a successful fake punt into a first down along the way, and capped the drive by going over the top for a 4-yard touchdown. The Jackets reached into their bag of tricks again on the two-point conversion, as Rankins hit Chumley with a pass out of a “swinging gate” formation. The successful try put Trousdale County ahead 22-19.

The Jackets got a fourth-down stop near midfield to regain possession, but Watertown used its timeouts to keep hope alive. The Jackets’ punt was blocked, giving the Tigers the ball at the Trousdale 31 with just over two minutes left.

But Jackets senior Aaron Pickett got inside position on a receiver and intercepted a pass along the visitors’ sideline to end the threat and Trousdale ran out the clock.

Rankins finished with 95 yards rushing and two TDs on 17 carries. Chumley added 84 yards on seven tries and Ford had 18 runs for 63 yards and a TD.

The Yellow Jackets were able to avenge their only loss of the season as they fell 16-13 in overtime at Watertown earlier in the season. Trousdale County also eliminated Watertown in the quarterfinals of the 2018 playoffs.