COOKEVILLE, Tenn.-- If you like passing, this wasn’t your game. Except for the last minute of regulation and, well, overtime.
Union City’s Andrew Easley stepped in front a pass meant for end-of-regulation hero Jeremiah Batiste of Tyner and intercepted it in double-overtime, giving way to quarterback Braxton Waddell’s game-winning,10-yard score.
The Golden Tornadoes (13-2) knocked off Tyner 27-21 without throwing a single pass to win their fourth overall state title and first in Class 2A.
Fullback Trey Jones rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries to win offensive MVP. Waddell added 14 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns -- the final of which came on the last play of his career.
Tyner (12-3) failed to win its first state title since 1997. It didn't have a single passing yard to its credit through three quarters but Jaylen Bowens threw a touchdown pass with 14 seconds left and converted the two-point pass to force overtime.
Jones carried in from the 2 in the first overtime. Tyner QB Bowers threw a touchdown of 7 yards to Jeremy Elston to match the score.
But the magic ran out in the second overtime.
Touchdown runs by Jones (3 yards) and Waddell (11 yards) gave the Golden Tornadoes a 14-6 lead by the 11:56 mark of the second quarter.
Tyner’s defense kept the score from getting out of hand from there. It stopped Union City on downs at the 20-yard line with 2:39 left in the first half, preserving the 14-6 score.
Then, Union City amassed a 25-play, 94-yard drive that ate 13:07 off the clock. But Tyner stopped Union City on downs at the Tyner 2 with 7:32 to play.
No points. Out of a 25-play drive, 13-minute drive.
Tyner started to find its rhythm shortly thereafter. It hit on back-to-back completions midway through the fourth quarter to cross midfield into Union City territory, trailing by eight.
But Union City regained possession and milked the clock down before sending a punt to Tyner, stopping at the Tyner 33 with 1:05 remaining.
Bowers led the Rams downfield and then sent a 33-yard prayer to Batiste near the front-left pylon. A Union City defensive back stopped near the goal line and tried to jump and intercept it.
The ball sailed just over his fingertips into Batiste's hands for a touchdown, cutting the score to 14-12 with 14 seconds left. Batiste then caught the two-point conversion to tie the game.
Bowers scrambled like mad and avoided four pursuers to lob up the conversion pass into traffic, where Batiste rose above the rest to bring it down to knot the score at 14.