Titans Mascot, T-Rac, and Titans Rookie Wide Receiver, Colton Dowell, were in attendance in Wilson County as Wilson Central traveled to Green Hill for a clash between two undefeated teams. Lebanon native, Dowell, who played at Wilson Central under the direction of multiple Coaches who are now at Green Hill, was the Titans representative along with T-Rac for the Titans game of the week.
A kick off out of bounds on an onside kick was not the start the Hawks were looking for. The Wildcats got a huge boost of momentum to start the game but that momentum did not last long and swung hard in Green Hill’s direction as the defense recovered a fumble on Central’s first play from scrimmage followed by a 55-yard touchdown pass from Kannon Burroughs to Aaron Mattingly, instantly putting the Hawks up 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion. Green Hill elected to kick another onside and this one did not travel past the 40 resulting in Wildcat ball with great field position once again. This time the Central offense went to work, feeding Antuan McKethan who took the handoff on every play of a 45-yard drive capped off by a 25-yard touchdown run. After a horrific start, the Wildcats kept their heads up and responded in a big way. They now led 7-6 after the PAT. A crucial play in the game came on the Hawks’ next drive. Green Hill faced a 4th and 3 from the 10. Green Hill, rather than kicking the field goal to take the lead, decided to go for it. Not only did the Hawks not get the three yards they needed but the play was blown up by the Wildcats and Green Hill lost three yards. We would remain at 7-6 Wildcats and that was the score as we headed into the second quarter.
We began the second quarter with Green Hill threatening, but a delay of game penalty stalled the drive and Central took over at their own 11 after a great punt and bounce from the Hawks. Central continued to give Green Hill a healthy dose of Antuan McKethan who was willing the Wildcats down the field. On a third down near midfield the Wildcats switched it up and Gavin Mayfield threw a wide receiver screen to Ethan Kimes who stiff-armed a would-be tackler and took it all the way for a Central touchdown. The line of scrimmage on the PAT was blown up by the Hawks forcing the holder to run and he was unsuccessful, putting the Wildcats lead in reach for the Hawks at 13-6. As the clock ticked under 3:00 the Hawks were moving in on tying or taking the lead. As we reached 1:45 they had moved the ball inside the 10 but were pushed back by Central on the next play. They faced 3rd and goal from the 10. A fade to Mattingly was incomplete and Hawks Head Coach, Josh Crouch, took a time out with 51 seconds left to talk over their next move. With the math not adding up, they left their offense on the field. Burrough’s pass found Mattingly in the endzone, who got both hands on the ball and went to the ground quickly. He popped up to his feet celebrating the touchdown as Green Hill activated the light show that follows a touchdown and the student section popped confetti before the referees relayed that he had dropped the ball. Wilson Central took over and with a full field to go and less than a minute to do it, they were content going into halftime up 13-6 and so both teams headed into their respective locker rooms.
Green Hill came out for the second half looking like a new offense. Two 15+ yard gains from Burroughs to Brayden Jones set the Hawks up in scoring position. It didn’t take Green Hill long to capitalize as Burroughs hit Nick Owens Jr. for an eight-yard touchdown. The PAT was good, and we were all tied up at 13-13 with 7:00 to go in the 3rd. McKethan continued to be the engine for the Central offense. Derrick Henry was not one of the Titans in attendance, but McKethan was doing his best impression, slashing the Green Hill defense for chunk yardage. With just 50 seconds left in the quarter, Central faced a 4th and 5 from just past midfield. They needed just five but they got 40 on a double pass executed to perfection, setting the offense up at the seven yard line. We would head into the 4th with a tie game at 13 a piece.
After offsetting penalties, a backwards play, and an incomplete pass, Central faced a 4th and long and sent out the kicker to break the tie. The snap, the set, and for the second time in the game a kick procedure broke down and the holder had to try to run the ball. This was wildly unsuccessful resulting in a turnover for Central. Green Hill came out on the field with a chance to break the tie themselves but fumbled the ball on play number one, giving Central another chance. The Green Hill defense, with their backs against the wall, stood strong and not only stopped Central but pushed them out of field goal range. The Hawks’ defense had given their offense another chance with just over nine minutes to go. This time the Hawks wasted no time as Mattingly took a screen pass 52 yards for the touchdown you can watch below courtesy of Green Hill Athletics.
Green Hill led 20-13 with 7:45 to go in the game after the PAT. Wilson Central would have to respond here. Facing a third down, with the game hanging in the balance, the snap went over the QB’s head and was recovered by Green Hill. With just over five minutes to go, the Hawks could seemingly put the game away. Facing a fourth and six from the 29, Coach Crouch called a timeout to talk things over. You can watch this fourth down play below.
Burroughs looked to his left and found a wide-open Jones to make it a two-score game. With 4:56 to go, the Hawks led 27-13. Central wasn’t done just yet though. McKethan capped off a long touchdown drive with a short run to put Central within one score with 2:00 to go. The onside kick was recovered by Green Hill and the Wildcats did not have enough timeouts to stop the clock.
Green Hill took the win in the all-important division matchup 27-20.
Our MVP of the game is Green Hill WR/TE Aaron Mattingly. Aaron had two massive touchdowns at critical points in the game and both were over 50 yards. Aaron was the go-to receiver all night for Green Hill. You can check out the MVP interview below.