The J.B. Pennington Tigers looked Randolph County in the eye for almost three-and-a-half quarters.
Unfortunately, once the hosts blinked, the visitors put them away as Randolph County advanced to the second round with a 28-6 victory at Blountsville last Friday.
The only score of the first half came early in the second quarter when Randolph County’s Andrew Prestridge hit Trent Lane with an 8-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was wide but Randolph County led 6-0 with nine minutes left in the half.
The Pennington defense twice snuffed out Randolph County scoring chances after fumbles and the score stayed 6-0 through two quarters.
Pennington had generated just 70 yards of offense in the first half but the Tigers nearly matched that on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Starting from their own 25, Pennington used 13 plays to grind out 67 yards. The drive ended there, however, as the Tigers threw incomplete on fourth-and-three from the 7.
Three plays later, Randolph County completed a 45-yard pass to midfield – the visitors only completion of the second half – to get out of a deep hole. The visitors scored three plays later and added the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 14-0 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
Two possessions later, the visitors wrapped up the game when Daunte Freeman stepped in front of a Pennington screen pass and returned it 5 yards for a touchdown.
Another interception gave Randolph County a short field and Lane scored on a 19-yard run.
Pennington got on the board with 2:31 to play when Trey Griffin capped a nine-play, 61-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 28-6.
The Tiger passing game never got going against a very talented Randolph County secondary as Travis Cleveland completed 5 of 14 attempts for 21 yards and a pair of interceptions.
The Pennington running game came to life in the second half. After being held to just 49 yards on 18 carries in the first half, Pennington finished with 178 yards on 48 attempts.
Griffin, who missed the previous three weeks with an ankle injury, carried the ball 26 times for 128 yards and a touchdown in his final game. Fellow senior Bailey Dempsey had 35 yards on eight carries.
Luke Cassity led the Tiger defense with 10 tackles, two for loss, and a fumble recovery. Travis Haynes and Jalon Bullard had eight tackles each.
J.B. Pennington finished the year at 8- 3 while Randolph County improved to 9- 2 and will host Sylvania (8-3) this week in the second round.