TCPS head coach Toby McKenzie told his Hawks afterward the building process is a road filled with rough spots and he was proud of the effort put forth by the Hawks.
“We’ve got some good players. We’ve got a good group of sophomores. We’ve got some good athletes in Eric Hall, Luke Benton and Andy Chase. Up front, we’ve got some good linemen. But it all comes back to trying to build something,” said McKenzie.
The Hawks put together an impressive drive on their first possession, moving from their own 20-yard line to the McMinn County 36 on the strength of a 23-yard run by Luke Benton. Andy Chase kept the Hawks alive with a 10-yard gain on fourth-and-9. Two carries by Eric Hall moved the ball to the Cherokee 22-yard line where the McMinn County defense stiffened. The Hawks missed a chance to put points on the board when a 35-yard field goal fell just short.
The Cherokees responded with a touchdown and 2-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead. McMinn scored twice more in the second quarter and led 22-0 at halftime.
McMinn opened the second half with a TD on the first play from scrimmage and built a 46-0 lead before the Hawks broke up the shutout to open the fourth quarter.
Starting on their own 34, the Hawks mounted a splendid drive capped off by a Benton 15-yard touchdown run. Mathias Della Tonia added the extra point to make it 46-7.
McMinn County added a final score to finish with a 54-7 win.
“We’ve got a good future. We’d like the numbers to get a little bit bigger, but that’s every coach’s complaint,” said McKenzie. “I think we are on the right track.”