SETH — A heart-breaking five point loss was the final result of a back and forth contest for the Sherman Tide on homecoming night at Zontini Memorial Field in Seth.
Gilmer County defeated the Tide, 32-27, in a game that saw lots of passing.
“We expected them to pass, but not as much as they did,” said Sherman head coach J.D. Fairchild. “We just had several mental errors and needed to make a few more stops.”
The Gilmer County Titans began the game with a successful onsides kick, but the Tide defense stopped them and forced a punt.
Both teams struggled in intial drives, but Sherman punter Cordell Parsons kicked a booming punt that pinned the Titans on its own 6-yard line.
On a fourth down and two yards to go for a first down, Gilmer County converted by inches deep in Tide territory. A quarterback keeper put the Titans up 6-0 with seven minutes left in the first quarter.
Gilmer County attempted another onside kick, but it was recovered by Sherman.
The Tide offense struggled in the first quarter, but did have a few big runs by its runningback Kyle Davis.
The Titans kept up with its passing attack and scored again with 4:21 left in the first quarter on a read option pitch play to its runningback for a 12-0 lead.
Again, the Titans attempted an unsuccessful onsides kick, but this time the Tide offense took advantage of the good field position.
Tide quarterback Bailey Kirk threw the first of his four touchdown passes on the night when he hit Austin Cooper with 2:42 left in the first quarter for a touchdown. After the extra point kick by Tommy Harper, the Tide had cut the Titans’ lead to 12-7.
In the second quarter, Gilmer County’s offense continued to spread the field running read option or passing the football.
After a long drive, the Titans scored with 5:45 left in the first half on a 16-yard quarterback designed run play.
Gilmer County failed on its 2-point conversion attempt and the score was now 18-7 with the Tide trailing.
The Tide answered with 3:08 left in the half on Kirk’s second touchdown pass. Kirk threw a beautiful pass to the corner of the endzone and Tide receiver Logan Kauff made a great catch over a Titans defender while still keeping his feet in bounds for the score.
Harper kicked the extra point and cut Gilmer County’s lead to 18-14, which was the halftime score.
Homecoming activities took place at halftime and Sherman Principal Todd Barnett also presented a plaque to Tide Class of 1976 graduate Chris Jarrell for being the Homecoming Grand Marshal and many other things he currently does as the unofficial historian for the school with his online website Sherman Tide Yearbooks.
Gilmer County began the third quarter throwing the ball. With 8:25 left in the quarter, the Tide’s Jacob Hensley broke up a pass and Nate Dickens made a big hit on fourth down to get the ball back for Sherman.
Sherman when to a hurry up, no huddle offense and drove the ball deep into Titans’ territory before giving the ball back on downs with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
The Sherman defense, led by Kazz Workman, continued to put Gilmer County in several fourth down situations. However, two offsides penalties by the Tide on fourth down situations continued two Gilmer County scoring drives.
With 9:59 left in the game, Gilmer County scored and increased its lead to 24-14.
Sherman answered with Kirk’s third touchdown pass to Tyler Pettry on a fourth down play with 8:40 left on the clock. Sherman cut the lead to 24-21.
With a fourth down and four yards to go, the Tide defense jumped offsides again allowing Gilmer County to continue a drive that resulted in another score. Gilmer County was on top 32-21 with 5:35 left in the game.
Kirk and Kauff connected again with 3:41 on the clock. It was Kirk’s fourth touchdown pass and Kauff’s second touchdown catch. The score was now Gilmer County 32, and the Sherman Tide 27.
Sherman got the ball back with 21.3 seconds left, but a final deep pass was picked off by the Titans when Kirk was hit just as he released the ball. The final score was Gilmer County 32, Sherman 27.
“I was really proud of how our guys kept fighting and playing hard,” Fairchild said. “We never gave up, but we just had too many mental errors that cost us this game.”
In addition to Workman, the Tide defense was led by Nate Dickens with an amazing 29 tackles. Also contributing were Pettry, John Dickens and Adam Miller.
Next week the Tide will be at home against Liberty (Raleigh) High School. Game time starts at 7:30 p.m.
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at email@example.com or @fcpace62 on Twitter.