Class 1A playoff-bound Cornersville needed 18 unanswered points and a second-half shutout Friday to secure a 32-27 win over Zion Christian.
Trailing by three points in the fourth quarter, the Eagles stopped Cornersville on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard-line to give themselves a chance to drive the length of the field to win, but a safety on first down ended the game and any chance of an upset bid for Zion Christian.
Traveling with fewer than 20 players to take on the Bulldogs, Zion Christian — behind Luke Perko’s praise-worthy performance — jumped out to an early lead, and carried a 27-14 lead to the break before faltering in the second half. In what has been a difficult theme all season, the Eagles’ depth played a part in the loss as Cornersville wore down the Zion defense with a staunch rushing attack, led by Brady Calahan’s 173 yards on 24 carries. He also scored twice and ran for a trio of two-point conversions, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Perko, the SM-TN Sports coverage area leader in passing, was 10-for-18 passing for 156 yards and four scores. He also ran for 78 yards on 15 carries, which led his team.
Unable to get anything going on offense in the third quarter, Zion Christian punted twice after failing to gain positive yardage on either drive. A promising drive in the fourth quarter ended when Sam Sullivan hauled in a pass from Perko but fumbled the ball to the Bulldogs.
The Eagles then held strong after a long drive with a goal-line stand before Perko was sacked for the safety that ended the game.
Zion Christian finished their season with a 4-6 record, while Cornersville (7-3) will now travel to Huntingdon for a first-round playoff game next week.
Cornersville 32, Zion Chr. 27
Z 14 13 0 0 — 27
C 6 8 8 10 — 32
|Z — Sam Sullivan 36 pass from Luke Perko (8:58) Dylan Ratliff kick|
|C — Brady Calahan 25 run (5:01) kick blocked|
|Z — Max Brown 23 pass from Perko (0:53) Ratliff kick|
|C — Cason Warner 14 run (6:01) Calahan run|
|Z — Davis Duffy 67 pass from Perko (5:40) run failed|
|Z — Duffy 3 pass from Perko (0:12) Ratliff kick|
|C — Jackson Farmer 10 run (2:57) Calahan run|
|C — Calahan 11 run (8:29) Calahan run|
|C — Safety (2:39)|
|Zion Christian — Luke Perko 15-78, Josh Harrison 6-45, Dillan Runions 2-1|
|Cornersville — Brady Calahan 24-173, Cason Warner 12-32, Jackson Farmer 4-19, Riley Qualls 2-11, Rhett Woodard 3-9, Alex Hilliard 5-5|
|Zion Christian — Luke Perko 10-18-0 156|
|Cornersville — Jackson Farmer 5-8-0 43|
|Zion Christian — Davis Duffy 2-70, Sam Sullivan 3-59, Max Brown 2-22, Dillan Runions 2-5, Josh Harrison 1-0|
|Cornersville — Brady Calahan 2-27, Cason Warner 2-9, Rhett Woodard 1-7|