By John R. Schirmer
With Queen Kaylea Carver and her court cheering them on, the Nashville Scrappers (6-0, 3-0) won their Homecoming game over Joe T. Robinson 31-28 Friday night. The Senators are now 5-1, 2-1 in district.
Stadium announcer Johnny Wilson introduced the royalty and escorts before the game. For the Senators, playing as a Homecoming opponent likely was an unusual experience. The Scrappers entered the game as the number one team in Class 4A; Robinson was third. The rankings remained unchanged after the game.
The 3-point margin was closer than some of the state sports pundits predicted, but Coach Mike Volarvich said the margin favored the Scrappers. “We felt like if we had it close in the fourth quarter, we had a chance to win. We talked to the kids about making it close” because Robinson hadn’t fared well in previous seasons in close game.
“I’m proud of how we fought for four quarters. Our guys played extremely hard and pulled off the win,” Volarvich said.
The Scrappers had “a bunch of guys who played a bunch of snaps, more than ideally we would have liked for them to. They fought through it,” according to Volarvich.
Robinson struck first, scoring on a 24-yard pass in the opening quarter.
The Scrappers fought back, scoring on a 22-yard run by Trent Harris later in the quarter. Jose Hernandez kicked the first of four extra points, and the score was tied at 7 each.
Hernandez made a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter, putting Nashville ahead 10-7.
Dominick Kight extended the lead when he caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Tyler Hanson, Hernandez’s PAT gave Nashville a 17-7 lead.
The Senators came back with a 28-yard scoring pass and narrowed the gap to 17-14 Nashville.
Darius Hopkins scored on a 2-yard run before halftime to put Nashville up 24-14 at the break.
Robinson opened the scoring in the third quarter with an 8-yard run. The PAT failed, leaving Nashville with a 4-point lead, 24-20.
Kight scored on a 16-yard pass form Hanson to put Nashville ahead 31-20.
The Senators added their last TD of the night on a 43-yard run and 2-point conversion for the final score of 31-28.
Neither team scored in the final quarter.
However, Robinson came close late in the game. The Senators put up a pass which Kailus Hughes tipped. Kight then made “a great one-handed catch for the interception,” ending the scoring threat with 45 seconds left and preserving the win for Nashville.
“It was a great play by Kailus and Kight’s interception,” Volarvich said.
Kight played on both sides of the ball, as several Scrappers did. He was in on 125 snaps which accounted for 2 touchdowns and an interception, Volarvich said. “He made another interception which was negated by a penalty. He had some big tackles.
I’m proud of our guys.”
The Scrappers held held Nathan Page of Robinson to 6 catches for 71 yards. They held Koilan Jackson to 5 catches for 54 yards.
“I’m really proud of the way our guys competed. Hopkins did a good job on Jackson. We lined him up man-on-man all night. Hopkins was able to hold a committed SEC receiver to 5 catches for 54 yards. It was his first game at corner all year. That speaks a lot about his ability to transition to defense,” Volarvich said.
Jackson was averaging 25 yards per reception 119 yards per game. He had 7 receiving TDs for the season but none against the Scrappers. “I’m proud of that,” Volarvich said.
Ty Pettway played on defense for the first time this season and made 10 tackles. Hunter White had 12 tackles and 2 tackles for losses.
Hughes played man on Page “and did a good job. Page was averaging 145 receiving yards a game.”
Offensively, “I liked the way Harris stepped up. He had 18 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown. Hopkins had 18 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Kight had 4 catches for 54 yards and 2 TDs,” Volarvich said.
Hernandez kicked the field goal and 4 of 4 PATs. “He’s been very solid all year.”
“It wasn’t one of our best games offensively, but give Robinson a lot of credit. They had only given up 2 TDs most of the season,” Volarvich said.
The Scrappers handled Homecoming well, according to Volarvich. “We have a pretty mature group. They knew what Homecoming was about. Football coaches and players are creatures of habit. Anytime we get out of our routine, it’s uncomfortable. We overcame adversity.”
Robinson marked “the first real test for us this year. I’ve been proud dating back to last year that anytime adversity hits, we fight through it.”
Volarvich said Homecoming “is good, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s a great experience. I told them to enjoy it, but ultimately, it’s about what happens on the field.”
For the night, Hanson completed 9 of 14 passes for 11 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Harris had 18 carries, 149 yards and a touchdown. Hopkins had 18 carries, 99 yards and a TD.
Kight made 4 catches for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopkins had 4 receptions for 46 yards. Jhalon Finley made 1 catch for 11 yards.
White had 12 total tackles, including 8 solo and 4 assists. Hughes, Gordon and Pettway had 10 total tackles each. Mace Green had 7 total, Jordan White 6, Hopkins, Kight and Xavier Nunally 3 each. Kirby Adcock had 4 total tackles and a sack. Jordan Summers had 2 solo and 5 assists. Dennis Scott and Austin Gibbs had a total of 2 each. Jamison, Holmes and Spencer had 1 each. Bevill had 3 total.
Pettway and Kight each recorded interceptions. Adcock recovered a fumble.
The Scrappers ran 55 total plays, with 71 for Robinson.
Nashville had 372 yards total offense, including 111 passing and 261 rushing.
The Scrappers had no turnovers. They were penalized 4 times for 36 yards. Robinson had 9 penalties for 79 yards.