(WVLT) - The Central Bobcats had the game won.
Joel Helton's squad led 14-3 after three quarters against the 5A Cookeville Cavaliers, and all the Bobcats had to do was ice their lead and head home happy.
But a Central fumble, two Cookeville fourth-down-conversions, a freakish catch, and a Bobcat three-and-out later, the score was 14-11 and the game very much in doubt.
Then, with 40 seconds left, Jared Griggs removed that doubt.
The Cookeville wide receiver returned a Central punt 80 yards for the decisive score, completing the comeback and sending the Cavs into a fit of jubilation.
The Bobcats had several chances to secure the victory, but each time saw it slip out of their hands -- at times, quite literally.
Quarterback Clark McMillan fumbled the football inside the Cookeville 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, which led to the Cavs' 94-yard touchdown drive. The key play on that drive was a picturesque fly pattern from quarterback Taylor Hennigan to receiver Sam Wright. Wright initially juggled the ball before making the catch while on his back.
A short touchdown run made the score 14-9, and the Cavs tacked on a two-point conversion to get within three points. They forced a Central three-and-out before Griggs snatched the victory from Bobcat hands.
For streaming video of this and all the other big games around Knoxville Friday night, be sure to browse the Volunteer TV Sports Overtime home page.
In other area action...
Farragut 41, West 24
Andre Sterling rushed for more than 200 yards to lift the Admirals over West. Farragut led 28-7 at the half before Jake Ryan led the Rebels back. The game was as close as 34-24 before the Admirals iced the victory.
Bearden 38, Carter 0
The Bulldogs gave Coach Brad Taylor a stellar debut, posting 21 points in the first quarter en route to a dominant victory in Strawberry plains. Bearden quarterback Dawson Halliday connected with Logan Maynard for a score and also found Matt Williamson several times to stymie the Hornet defense.
Catholic 28, Morristown West 6
The Fighting Irish jumped out to a 21-0 advantage before West could get on the board. Catholic running back Adam Mann returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and Mark Pemberton's squad never looked back.
William Blount 27, Sevier County 0
The Governor's Brad Cochran returned a punt for a touchdown to spur his team to victory in Sevierville. William Blount won its second straight game against the Smoky Bears.
CAK 14, Boyd Buchanan 0
Cherokee 21, Rutledge 0
Gibbs 24, Cosby 7
Seymour 27, Heritage 16
Karns 36, Lenoir City 13
Kings Academy 39, Hancock County 12
Loudon 36, McMinn Central 13
Midway 27, Claiborne County 14
Jellico 26, Oakdale 6
Silverdale 27, Oliver Springs 0
Rockwood 7, Oneida 6
Scott County 38, Wartburg 6
Sequatchie County 19, Pigeon Forge 13
Sweetwater 21, Sequoyah 12
David Brainerd 14, Sunbright 7
Gatlinburg-Pittman 55, Tellico Plains 13
Campbell County 33, Union County 6
While WVLT allows comments on articles, we ask that you respect the online community. Comments may be removed at any time for violations including:
Comments may be checked for inappropriate content or rule violation, but the station is under no legal obligation to monitor or remove comments. If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.