The Murfreesboro Rattlers utilized the magic of homecoming to win three quarters of the game against the Mountain Pine Red Devils last Friday night.
Up by scores of 24-21 at half and 40-37 in the fourth quarter, the Rattlers appeared to be able to match Mountain Pine’s offense score for score.
Unfortunately, a late spurt by the Red Devils and a little unfortunate luck left the Rattlers a little short in the final scoring of 61-40.
To open the game, the Rattlers found themselves down 14-0 after the first quarter as Mountain Pine converted both their drives for scores, sandwiching a Murfreesboro drive that ended in a turnover on downs deep in Red Devil territory.
A roughing the quarterback and an offsides penalty on fourth down by Mountain Pine helped fuel the Rattler’s second possession that moved into the second quarter. QB J.C. Motley would find Jakob Allmon on a 21 yard TD pass for their first score, then move the score to 14-8 with a 2 point conversion toss to Jarrett Faulkner.
Mountain Pine would answer in less than two minutes, capping the drive with a QB keeper by Collin Smith for 20 yards. After the successful PAT attempt, the score rested at 21-8.
Motley would control the next possession, rushing the ball on six of the team’s eight plays, scoring on a 1 yard scamper and then adding a two point conversion to make the score 21-16.
An interception by Motley at the Red Devil 15 yard line would give the Rattler their opportunity to take the lead.
A 37-yard pass reception by Faulkner would move Murfreesboro into Red Devil territory, and Motley would convert a key fourth down inside the twenty yard line to set up a 10 yard rush by Tyler Tomlinson for the go-ahead score. Motley would cap the possession with a two point conversion to move the score to 24-21.
Mountain Pine would threaten inside the last minute of the half, but a QB sack at the 23 yard line with 2.3 seconds effectively ended the threat.
Driving the opening possession 60 yards for a score, featuring a 35 yard TD pass from Motley to Allmon, the Rattlers jumped out to a 32-21 lead.
The rest of the quarter belonged to Mountain Pine, as the Red Devils closed the deficit with a TD drive, recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and then scored again to regain the lead 37-32 at the 1:18 mark of the third quarter.
The Rattlers would again show their competitive spirit, utilizing a 13 play drive that culminated in a Motley TD rush with 8:23 remaining and providing the Rattlers with a 30-37 lead.
That lead, however, was short lived, as only 59 seconds later the Red Devils would regain the lead on a 45 yard run by Smith that featured the QB weaving across the field, narrowly escaping being tackled for a loss before finding himself on the other end.
Murfreesboro would attempt to answer, but a drive that just crossed over into Red Devil territory was short-circuited by a holding penalty ended in Murfreesboro’s lone punt of the night.
Mountain Pine’s Defavioun Haywood would bring an end to any hope of a dramatic ending, taking their first play 65 yards for a touchdown and placing the Red Devils firmly in control 53-40 with 4:34 left.
Passes from Motley to Allmon and Faulkner moved the Rattlers to the Mountain Pine 38 on the next drive, however the Red Devil defense stiffened at just the right time, forcing three incomplete passes and a one yard run into a turnover on downs with 3:35 remaining.
Four plays later Mountain Pine would provide the final score of the game, setting the margin at 61-40.
Murfreesboro would make a late charge toward a late score, however the Rattlers would finish up at the Red Devil 6 when a fourth down try came up a yard short.
Murfreesboro would amass 423 yards of offense on the night, led by Motley with his 199 yards rushing on 36 attempts and 2 TDs, as well as 8/18 through the air for 126 yards and 2 TDs.
Tomlinson and Michael Hughes would each carry the ball 10 times for the Rattlers, amassing 58 (1TD) and 53 yards respectively.
Allmon would lead the receiving corps with 62 yards on 4 catches with 2 TDs, followed by Faulkner’s 2/41 and Nathan Plyler’s 2/25.
Defensively, the Rattlers were led by Cody Nolen, who recorded 8 tackles including one for loss and a QB sack. Zayne Flaherty, Braden Cross and Plyler each notched seven tackles for the Rattlers, while Andrew Keeney (1 for loss) and Jayce Humphery each added six. On top of his interception, Motley added five tackles.
Mountain Pine’s Smith accounted for 359 of the Red Devils’ 574 yards of offense, rushing for 209 yards, passing for 101 and receiving a pass for 49 yards. Haywood would notch 2 TDs on 15 rushes for 150 yards, while Elijah Browning scored three times on 11 rushes for 82 yards.
The Rattlers remain winless on the season (0-6, 0-3) and will travel to Mineral Springs this Friday to face the Hornets (1-5, 1-2). Mineral Springs defeated the Dierks Outlaws 40-22 last Friday night to notch their first win of the season.
The Junior Rattlers notched their first win of the season last week at Mountain Pine via a shutout 32-0. Murfreesboro junior high and seventh grade teams will host Mineral Springs this Thursday at home.