In the home opener for the Rhea County Eagles, the gridiron boys rolled to a 35-13 win over the Brainerd Panthers.
With the win, the Eagles are 1-0 on the young season with a region tilt with Walker Valley slated for this Friday night.
New Triple Option Offense
In their first full game of the season, the Eagle faithful got to watch the new triple option attack gash the Panther defense to the tune of 322 rushing yards on 52 attempts.
For the second week in a row, the offense was highlighted by the play of senior quarterback Zack Pemberton who juked and darted his way to 126 rushing yards on 25 attempts, good for a fraction over five yards a carry, and 3 rushing touchdowns.
Passing wise, he attempted four passes and completed three for 63 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown strike to Aulbrey Smith.
The senior wing also had a great night catching two passes for 59 yards and rushing for another 24.
Following Pemberton, fullbacks Chandler Kaylor and Bradley Goodwin rushed for 68 and 72 yards, respectfully, with Kaylor scoring his first touchdown of the season on a fullback dive to end the scoring for the Eagles.
All in all, the Eagles shared those 322 yards between 11 different ball carriers.
Senior quarterback and kicker Haden “Chigger” Frashier was also a perfect 5-5 on PAT attempts in the triumph.
Golden Eagle Defense
Defensively, the boys in green and gold stood tough against the Panther offense, only surrendering two scores, 130 passing yards and a meager 14 rushing yards.
Bo Garmany came through for the defense with multiple key stops and a monstrous sack on the Panther quarterback. Bradley Goodwin, Chandler Kaylor, Garrett Smith, and multiple others shone brightly underneath the lights as they shut down the Panther offense.
First game jitters were real for the Eagles as they were flagged a total of 12 times for 115 yards and fumbled the ball 4 times. However, they only lost one to the visitors.
Ask any Eagle fan (myself included), player, or coach and they will say that, although the stat sheet doesn’t show it, senior safety and wingback Aulbrey Smith recorded the only interception of the night, picking off a Brainerd pass only to have it given back to the Panthers, resulting in a touchdown pass a couple plays later.
With the game winding down, Coach Pemberton elected to sub in the younger players and give them a chance to see some game time. All three backup quarterbacks (Frashier, Carr, and Collins) got to play, as did freshman Austin Brackett who caught a pass from fellow frosh Kain Collins for a gain of 4 yards and rushed for 5 more.
The Eagles, first game mistakes aside, played exceptionally well as the new offense and always tough defense displayed their dominance on the home turf at Bill Horton Field.
The fans also showed out in full force to support the hometown team in the opener, showing everyone just exactly why teams hate playing in Evensville: tough teams, great coaching, and loyal fan base.
The Eagles are back at home this Friday night to start region play with Walker Valley. Be looking for a game preview later on in the week!
See you soon Eagle Nation!
**As a side note: I did not look into any crystal balls or time travel to the game Friday when I gave that prediction in the game preview. It was just a lucky guess that, had special teams not struggled for the Panthers on their final PAT attempt, was on the money.