By Jim Bratton
SUMMERTOWN — As expected, the latest chapter in the rivalry between visiting Mt. Pleasant and Summertown was a hotly contested one.
Battling both the Tigers and the rain, the host Eagles rallied from a two-touchdown first-half deficit for a narrow 13-12 victory, offsetting a 42-14 loss a year ago at Mt. Pleasant.
Javen Edmiston’s 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter tied the game, and Austin Abbott’s all-important extra point attempt was successful, with the hosts hanging on the rest of the way.
“I’m just happy to be out here playing football,” Summertown running back Aniken Johnson said after rushing for 50 yards on 10 carries in the win. “I feel like … we’re supposed to be a two-dimensional team. But because of the rain, we weren’t allowed to pass nearly as much as we could have. Our ability to pass is through the roof this year.
“I’m just happy we were allowed to put the ball on the ground and we could get things done. We put the ball on the ground and we just made some plays.”
Colton Shaffer attempted just three passes all night — all incomplete — but rushed for 68 yards on 19 carries and put Summertown on the scoreboard with a 2-yard run five minutes before halftime.
The touchdown cut Mt. Pleasant’s lead to 12-6, as the Tigers went up 6-0 on a 2-yard Ladontay Patton run late in the opening period and doubled the margin as Demarkus Brown caught a 9-yard pass from Te’Varius Strayhorn at the 11:02 mark of the second quarter.
Mt. Pleasant, playing without suspended kicker Jackson Collier, was unable to convert either of its two-point tries.
“We’ve got a kicker on the sideline that could hit two extra points, and that’s 14-13 and we win,” Tigers coach Bronson Bradley said. “So you know it could have gone either way, and that’s the way it is in a rivalry game.
“Our guys fought hard. It was a rivalry game. It’s been that way for six years. Last year was a lopsided score, but that was very unique in this rivalry. We fight hard. We’re just 10 miles from each other. These kids know each other, they talk to each other. So we knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. It usually is.”
The weather and the personnel presented two challenges for Mt. Pleasant, as the Tigers suffered three turnovers in the loss.
“We’ve not had any type of hard, physical contact because of COVID,” Bradley said. “This is our first outing, and it had to be coming down rain, which was tough. And we’ve got several guys who had never taken a snap on varsity, and this was their first snap on varsity — in the pouring-down rain, in a rivalry game like this. So I’m pretty proud of them.”
Xavior Davidson rushed for 57 yards for the Tigers. Edmiston finished with a game-high 71 yards for Summertown.
Over a stop-and-start preseason resulting from the pandemic, Eagles coach Leslie Mote had his concerns regarding his team’s conditioning entering the season opener.
“I felt conditioning-wise, that was one of my biggest issues, and I felt pretty good about that,” he said.
Summertown 13, Mt. Pleasant 12
MP 6 6 0 0 –12
S 0 6 0 7 –13
MP — Ladontay Patton 2 rush (2:21); pass failed
MP — Te’Varius Strayhorn 9 pass to Demarkus Brown (11:02); run failed
S — Colton Shaffer 2 rush (5:15); kick failed
S — Javen Edmiston 2 rush (11:14); Austin Abbott kick
First downs 6 11
Rushes-yards 33-100 44-189
Passing yards 51 0
Comps-Atts-Ints 3-8-0 0-3-0
Penalties-yards 1-7 2-30
Fumbles-lost 4-3 4-1
Mt. Pleasant — Zavior Davidson 13-57, Euriah Archibald 2-0, Ethan Beasley 1-1, Te’Varius Strayhorn 9-14, Ladontay Patton 8-28
Summertown — Javen Edmiston 15-71, Colton Shaffer 19-68, Aniken Johnson 10-50
Mt. Pleasant — Te’Varius Strayhorn 3-8-0, 55
Summertown — Colton Shaffer 0-3-0, 0
Mt. Pleasant — Demarkus Brown 2-26, Zavior Davidson 1-29