By Kenneth Schott
SUMMERTOWN — After a fourth-down stop, Summertown took possession of the ball with 1:20 left and a two-point lead in its Region 5-2A matchup with visiting Eagleville.
With Eagleville down to its last timeout, it appeared as if Summertown would claim its first league win and keep its playoff hopes alive.
Those hopes were dashed in just seconds. Summertown attempted a handoff to running back Aniken Johnson. Eagleville’s defense met Johnson in the backfield, stuffed him and stripped the ball from him. Marcus Collins picked up the fumble and took it 39 yards into the end zone to give the visitors a touchdown with 1:11 left.
That was the only lead Eagleville had in the game, as the visiting Eagles defeated Summertown 18-14 in a stunning fashion.
The decision to run a play instead of taking a knee and forcing Eagleville to use its timeout was a bad one, coach Leslie Mote said.
“That’s on me,” he said. “That’s probably the worst coaching job I’ve ever done. I told the kids that it wasn’t on them, they played hard. It’s on me.”
Mote said he thought that the visitors had more timeouts and he thought he needed to run another play to take more time off the clock.
“With clock management, I didn’t do very good, I did terrible,” he said.
The teams exchanged touchdowns throughout the game, but Summertown converted its extra points, and Eagleville (3-5, 2-2) failed in its conversions, so Summertown stayed ahead until the end.
With Summertown (3-4, 0-3) ahead 14-6 in the third quarter, another mistake allowed the visitors to score a touchdown and cut the gap to 14-12. Facing fourth-and-5 from its 22, Summertown opted for a fake punt. Colton Shaffer, who doubles as the team’s quarterback and punter, feigned a rugby punt and instead attempted a pass — which was intercepted.
Two plays later, Eagleville’s Wyatt McLemore took it 24 yards into the end zone.
“We shouldn’t have run the fake punt,” said Mote.
Summertown’s three-headed running attack kept Eagleville off balance throughout the game. The host team mixed the quarterback draw with Shaffer, sweep play or quick handoff to Johnson, or ‘wildcat’ run with Javen Edmiston.
Most of the scoring took place in the second quarter. The first scoring drive for Summertown took 17 plays, 16 of them being running plays, and took 8:27 off the clock. Johnson scored on a six-yard run to give Summertown a 7-0 lead.
Eagleville responded with a score on its next possession. Collins connected on a 57-yard pass to Kaden Snitzer to put the Eagles at the Summertown 23, then threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Cade Pippenger. The visitors missed the extra point to make it 7-6.
Summertown responded with a quick score, going 63 yards in 11 plays to score with just 24 seconds left in the half. Shaffer connected with Justus Gray for a 16-yard touchdown on a slant pass.
Eagleville was its own worst enemy for much of the game. The visitors had 101 yards in penalties and had two turnovers.
“It was a wild way to win one, but you have to be proud of your kids,” said Eagleville coach Floyd Walker. “When you’re left for dead, and the kids make a play, that’s a will to win that you’re proud to see.”
Eagleville 18, Summertown 14
E 0 6 6 6– 18
S 0 14 0 0 – 14
|S — Aniken Johnson 6 run (4:54), Austin Abbott kick|
|E — Cade Peppinger 23 pass from Marcus Collins (2:56), run failed|
|S — Justus Gray 16 pass from Colton Shaffer (0:24), Abbott kick|
|E — Wyatt McLemore 24 run (4:23), pass failed|
|E — Collins 39 fumble recovery (1:11), run failed|
|Eagleville — Bryce Lane 12-74, Wyatt McLemore 1-24, Marcus Collins 7-13|
|Summertown — Javen Edmiston 22-93, Colton Shaffer 15-36, Aniken Johnson 11-33|
|Eagleville — Marcus Collins 8-21-2, 113|
|Summertown — Colton Shaffer 3-10-4, 30, Javen Edmiston 0-1-0, 0|
|Eagleville — Kaden Snitzer 3-70, Cade Peppinger 1-23, Brody McLemore 3-15, Keydon Bassham 1-5|
|Summertown — Justus Gray 3-30|