Tigers blank Smith County for second consecutive year
GORDONSVILLE – Running the ball might have been the more preferred method of offense on Saturday evening at Turney Ford Field, but for Gordonsville, the aerial game produced the best results.
Visiting Smith County stifled the Tigers’ ground attack, but the connection of Matthew Albritton to Treyson Davis did enough damage in Gordonsville’s 14-0 season-opening victory.
It was the Tigers’ second consecutive shutout over the Owls (0-1), the second time Gordonsville had ever blanked Smith County in consecutive years through the 89 meetings this series has had since 1930. The previous occurrence came in 1994 and 1995.
The series has actually seen more than its fair share of shutouts. On 42 different occasions, at least one team failed to score, including a pair of scoreless ties in 1938 and 1964.
Albritton and Davis connected for the game’s biggest play, a short pass that turned into an 81-yard score early in the second quarter. It ended up providing all the cushion the Tigers (1-0) needed.
Albritton completed 12-of-18 passes for 218 yards, which helped buoy the offense since Gordonsville finished with minus-35 yards rushing. Some of that was due to the five fumbles (two of which were lost) the Tigers had in the contest.
“We knew that the front six (Smith County) had was pretty dang good,” Gordonsville head coach Scott Clemons said. “We’re not very big up front, so we’re going to have to throw the football to be successful and we got some guys that can make some plays with it, so that’s what we’re going to have to do.”
Smith County also had trouble handling the football, committing six fumbles in the game, though they managed to recover each one. The Owls also had penalties short-circuit drives, committing 11 infractions for 78 yards.
“We had too many penalties,” Smith County first-year head coach Matt Dyer said. “Too many young mistakes from guys not staying on their down block or not staying on track, but the penalties killed us.”
The Owls’ offense didn’t fare any better, as their deepest advance into Tiger territory came on their final possession. Smith County moved the ball to Gordonsville’s 27-yard line before quarterback Clayton Rigsby was sacked by Will Dudney and Canaan Musgrove, pushing the drive backwards where it ended with a turnover on downs two plays later.
“It was one of them knock-down, drag-out Gordonsville-Carthage games,” Clemons said.
Landon Baker provided the Tigers some breathing room on the final play of the third quarter, taking a sweep four yards into the end zone for the game’s final points. Albritton had found Baker one play earlier for a 32-yard gain to set up the scoring chance.
“There was an injury timeout and we got in the huddle,” Baker said. “I told them ‘give me the ball, I’m going to punch it in for us.’”
Kylan Johnson led the Owls’ rushing efforts with 51 yards on five carries. Smith County rushed for 132 yards on 39 attempts as a team.
“We want to grind, we want to run,” Dyer said. “We strung together some positive plays and had some life in some drives, but then we’d just kill ourselves with a penalty here and a penalty there.”
The atmosphere was noticeable for both coaches.
“When we pulled up, there was a lot of people tailgating up here,” Dyer said. “Our fans had a tunnel for us to walk through when we got off the bus … It was just exciting to have that kind of atmosphere again where people are actually in a full-capacity stadium.”
The two schools moved the game to the first Saturday of the season to allow for bigger attendance and it was effective, as the stands on both sides were full and people had a spot on the fence all the way around Turney Ford Field.
“That’s what high school football is all about,” Clemons said. “I told the kids the other day, not many people across the state get to play in a game like this. It’s important, for both sides. (Smith County’s) fans came out, our fans came out. That’s why we moved this thing, so people could experience this. It’s one of the best rivalries, it’s one of the best games in the state of Tennessee.”
Gordonsville travels to Watertown on Friday, while Smith County heads to DeKalb County for its Week 2 contest.
(Editor’s note: A previous version noted that it was the first time Gordonsville had shut out Smith County in back-to-back years. That has been corrected, and we apologize for the error.)
GORDONSVILLE 14, SMITH COUNTY 0
|Smith County (0-1), Gordonsville (1-0)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
G – Treyson Davis 81 pass from Matthew Albritton, 9:29. James Bunn kick.
G – Landon Baker 4 run, 0:00. Bunn kick.
Smith County: Kylan Johnson 5-51, Colton Windham 10-38, Bryce Currie 8-35, Luke Dillon 10-30, Clayton Rigsby 6-(-22).
Gordonsville: Treyson Davis 2-17, Landon Baker 1-8, Bryson Greer 3-4, Mitcheal Chapman 1-(-1), Canaan Musgrove 4-(-2), Matthew Albritton 10-(-35).
Smith County: Rigsby 5-17-1 33.
Gordonsville: Albritton 12-18-0 218.
Smith County: Currie 2-13, Johnson 2-10, Tristan Washer 1-10.
Gordonsville: Landon Baker 7-163, Treyson Davis 4-55, Brady Gentry 1-0.