The visiting Tellico Bears came to Charleston Field for a rematch game with the seasoned Hawks. At halftime, five TCPS seniors were recognized by the team and fans, but the Bears spoiled the celebration with a 12-6 win over the Hawks.
The Bears took the ball first on offense and drove all the way inside the Hawks’ 20-yard line. The defense stood its ground and forced a three-and-out, giving the TCPS offense the ball near the 15-yard line. The drive did not last long with the Hawks also going three-and-out.
The teams traded scoreless possessions until the Tellico quarterback was sacked by linebacker Cody Collins and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Hawks’ Levi Thomas.
The Hawks offense moved the ball inside the Bear 5-yard line after a 22-yard pass from Luke Benton to Collins. Two plays later, running back Jordan Elam rumbled 3 yards for the first touchdown of the game. The extra point was no good and the Hawks went into halftime leading 6-0.
Tellico got on the board twice in the second half after two Hawks turnovers gave the Bears a short field. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks began a drive to tie the game, but fell short after an incomplete pass on fourth down. Tellico regained possession and ran out the clock in the final seconds.
After the game both teams met at midfield for a prayer. The Tellico coach praised the improvement of the Hawks from the first game. "You have improved 1,000 percent," he said.
Coach Steve McKenzie echoed those words afterward. "I am so proud of how much these boys have grown over this season. It may not reflect it in our record, but this team never gave up believing in each other," he said.
When asked to compare this game with the previous match with Tellico, McKenzie said, "Night and day. Our defense has gotten so much better as the year went on, and that has to do with the players learning how to be aggressive. I can honestly say that we played our best football of the season tonight, but just fell short. They beat us the first game 28-0, so to be able to make this a close game is awesome for us. We turned a corner tonight in this program's future."
The Hawks finish the season with a record of 1-6, with the lone win coming against Sale Creek (31-14). McKenzie also told his players that this offseason will be a new experience, but they need to start building the foundation for next season.