By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Back in July Tipton-Rosemark Academy Head Coach Collin Pinner addressed the press on Rebels’ Media Day.
In the hot sun, Pinner said the team that had a chance to scorch the competition in Division II-A West Region in 2018 was Fayette Academy. The Vikings made the voyage to Rosemark Friday night to validate Pinner’s prediction.
The Vikings entered the contest against TRA with only one defeat courtesy of Davidson Academy 62-56 last week. Fayette Academy bounced back against the Rebels winning 35-0.
“They’re a great team,” Pinner said. “Coach (Vic) Shivers does an excellent job. I think he coaches football in the right way. They’ve got a great group of kids. They’ve got about 27 juniors and seniors.
“We’re young and we’re beaten up a little bit,” he added. “But there are no excuses. We can take a lot of things away from this as far as learning how to handle adversity and making in-game adjustments.”
The Vikings (7-1, 4-1 in Division II-A West Region) outscored TRA 28-0 in the first half. The Rebels had the Fayette Academy offense scoreless in the second half.
The Rebels (4-4, 1-3) came out with a new-look offense and a winner-take-all attitude. TRA executed an onside kick to start the game recovered by senior Clayton Brown. But the Rebels couldn’t take advantage of it missing a field goal attempt.
Later in the first quarter Fayette Academy was the first to place points on the TRA Stadium scoreboard when Reid Holland capped off a drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
After both teams traded punts to close out the first quarter, the Vikings managed a drive to make the tally 14-0. Will Rhea rushed over the goal line with a 6-yard TD run.
With 2 minutes and 39 seconds left in the first half, Fayette Academy went ahead 20-0. All night Vikings quarterback Rube Scott evaded TRA defenders to extend plays. Finally Scott’s elusive style in the backfield paid off with a 22-yard touchdown run.
Fayette Academy got the ball back one more time after a failed fake punt. The Vikings had 38.1 seconds to operate. Scott used his arm to make the Rebels pay when he connected with Isaac Armour for a 42-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion made the halftime score 28-0.
“They came out tonight with all the numbers,” Pinner said. “I think they were the second leading rushers in Shelby-Metro. It might go down after tonight’s performance. We can still run the football. That’s what we do. And I still standby my previous statement, they’ve got to be one of the top teams in the state. I haven’t seen East Tennessee. But I know they can play football.”
TRA had some offensive success in the second half with first downs and setting up another field goal attempt. But Fayette Academy didn’t break and kept the Rebels scoreless.
The only touchdown of the second half came courtesy of a block punt by Fayette Academy’s Richard Tapp inside the 40 yard line. Tapp gathered the ball and raced to the end zone for the touchdown making the final 35-0.
Now the Rebels look ahead to a match up with Jackson Christian this Friday. TRA will celebrate Senior Night and try to keep its hopes alive to earn a home playoff game. The Rebels must win the final two games to secure a postseason matchup at the Paul Barrett Jr. Sportsplex.
“We’ve got to find a way to take the physicality to them,” Pinner noted. “I think Fayette did a good job of hitting us tonight. We could never get the run game started. But we have to find a way to pound the football. We tried to do a lot of things tonight like the Spread and empty the box. But that’s not what we do.
“We run the football around here and we have to find a way to do that,” he concluded. “That’s on me. I tried to go against the grain tonight. So what I have to go back to doing is telling our kids, ‘We run the football here. We’re going to either live or die by running the football.’ I know it. You know it. And Jackson Christian is going to know it. It’s going to be who is the toughest and meanest up front. And I like our group of kids.”