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Whitwell Tigers headed to State Championship for the first time in school history

No doubt about it, the 2018 football season has been one that will go down in history for the Whitwell Tigers. Not only have this year’s Tigers remained undefeated — they’ve managed to overcome odds that some would argue was impossible…like remaining undefeated through the regular season, or advancing into the semi-finals round of the playoffs, or the much-discussed defeating down-the-road neighbors and rivals — the South Pittsburg Pirates — not once, but twice! And they managed to do all of this in one seemingly fairytale season!

Whitwell’s program has been building over the past few years and undoubtedly, under the leadership of Head Football Coach Randall Boldin, the Tigers have come a long way.

(Photo Credit: WTVC Sports)

Backing up to the end of the regular season, Whitwell had done quite well. They were undefeated and had put a lot of yards under their feet for the season not to mention points. If you haven’t been keeping up with the stats on the Tigers from alumnus and admin of the Facebook group ‘WHS “Tiger Football” History’ — you should. This 2018 team has smashed all the records!

In the first round of the playoffs, Whitwell faced-off with Clay County, easily defeating them 56-6 followed by a 45-7 routing of Lookout Valley in the second round. But wait! It doesn’t get any easier going into the quarterfinals as the Tigers would once again face the South Pittsburg Pirates.

Whitwell had just faced the Pirates a few weeks earlier on October 12th, defeating them 34-12, but the Pirates are a team that’s known to make a comeback especially given a second chance for revenge and Whitwell had better be ready. No doubt the two were pretty well-matched in abilities as witnessed in the quarterfinal game, but it would be the year Whitwell took the lead with a 34-28 victory in not one — but TWO overtimes to defeat the team in orange and black.

The final obstacle in the road was the Greenback Cherokees in the semifinals, which they accomplished in a nail-biter of a game last Friday night. Whitwell put the first points on the board with a touchdown by Hudson Petty and successful extra point attempt by Evan Nunley just in time to start the second quarter. The Cherokees soon answered with a touchdown of their own only to see Whitwell’s Petty take another into the end zone before heading to halftime. After a failed two-point conversion, the Tigers had the 13-7 lead with only minutes left in the half. Greenback made all the moves needed to drive down the field and get one in before going to the half, jumping on top 14-13 as the clock ran out sending both teams back to the locker rooms for halftime.

The third quarter of action got underway with a lot of punting by both teams, but neither was able to put any numbers up on the board as the clock ticked away. By the middle of the fourth quarter, Whitwell gained control of the ball after a Hudson Petty interception and then Tanner Stewart getting the ball into the end zone as the Tigers took a 19-14 lead over the Cherokees. This was followed soon by a pass to Thundur Roberts and a successful two-point conversion giving the Tigers 21-14 over Greenback with just over two minutes remaining in the game.

With just over a minute remaining in the game, the Cherokees answered those Tigers points by taking one into the end zone and then tied things up with a successful extra point kick for a score of 21-21 with less than a minute now on the clock. Everyone assumed that the game was going into overtime at this point, but that wasn’t how it would end. Not if the Tigers could help it! With just seconds on the clock, Evan Nunley kicked a field goal that would put the Tigers up 24-21. The kickoff afterward by the Cherokees fell to the ground out of bounds ending a very strong Greenback team’s road to the Championship Game and securing the win for the Tigers and a spot in their school history as the first team to make it to the State Title!

The Whitwell Tigers (14-0) face the Cornersville Bulldogs (13-0) on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at Tucker Stadium on the Tennessee Tech campus in Cookeville for the TSSAA BlueCross Bowl Class 1-A State Championship Game.

For those attending the game, tickets are available this week at Whitwell High School in the office for $12 during school hours. These tickets are available until Noon on Friday or while they last.

If you’re unable to make it to the school in time, you can also purchase them online — visit:

https://gofan.co/app/events/43735

Make sure you select a “Whitwell” ticket here as this shows your support of the team!

Whitwell High School also has a Pep Bus heading to the game on Saturday morning…if interested, call the high school for information at 423-658-5141. The price is $9 per person for the bus and seating is limited. (NOTE: this does NOT include admittance to the game. A ticket is still required!)

And the community is showing out to support their hometown team as they make their way up the road to Cookeville. The team, cheerleaders and band will participate in a parade around the Whitwell High, Middle, and Elementary campuses beginning at 12:30 PM on Thursday leading up to a huge pep rally at Earl Condra Stadium with all schools seated on the home side.

This will be followed by a parade through town as the team heads up Highway 28 to Cookeville on Thursday evening. Supporters and members of the community are asked to line Highway 28 from the schools to the Whitwell Park to show their support in sending off the Tigers to the State Championship.

For those unable to attend the game in Cookeville, we’ll have live coverage as we’ve had all season long on MarionCountyMessenger.com Community Radio — at MarionCountyMessenger.com/Radio

Chris Goforth and Heath Thacker will provide your commentary with pregame coverage starting at 10:00 AM CST and kick-off following at 11:00 AM CST.

You can also listen to our coverage over KWN TV, available on Charter Cable channel 195 in Marion County, Dade Co., GA and Jackson Co., AL.

WFLI 1070 AM and 97.7 FM in Chattanooga will join the broadcast in time for kick-off at 11:00 AM CST for game coverage as well.

The TSSAA Network’s coverage of the game will be on the CW channel out of Chattanooga. It’s found on Charter Cable, Dish and DirecTV (check your guides for channel and times). This televised coverage is provided by the TSSAA each season. We hope that if you do watch, you’ll also give our broadcast a listen as we’re the flagship station for the Tigers throughout the entire season…not just the big game. And our broadcasts are made possible by local sponsors and businesses who are proud supporters of Whitwell Tigers Football!

We wish the very best to the Whitwell Tigers in the State Championship! GO BIG RED!

 

 

 

 

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