CELINA, Tenn. | Before the first snap of Friday's game here, Scott High was flagged for a dead ball, personal foul penalty. That allowed Clay County to start its first possession at midfield, the Bulldogs scored five plays later, and a tone was set that would persist throughout a game that Clay County won, 53-7.
The theme from the Bulldogs' first offensive possession would repeat itself throughout the game: Scott High flags and Clay County touchdowns. The Highlanders had amassed more than 100 yards of penalties by halftime, and the Bulldogs had six touchdowns.
Most of Scott High's penalties were of the dead ball and 15-yard variety. Flags flew early and often — and on both teams. There were several off-setting personal foul penalties in the first half. The athletic directors from both schools had a testy exchange at midfield at halftime, and the game ended with Clay County still running its starters, still using time outs and still throwing passes despite having a 40-point lead with a running clock.
It was a long night for Scott High defensively. Clay County amassed 423 yards of offense and averaged a whopping 15 yards per play. The Bulldogs faced third down just two times, never punted, and never failed to score.
Scott High finished with 160 yards of offense, nearly half of which came on a 76-yard touchdown strike from Brady Strunk to Rylan Griffin in the fourth quarter.
Prior to that scoring play, which was Scott High's last offensive snap of the ballgame, the Highlanders had more penalty yards than offensive yards for the game.
Injuries continued to add up for the Highlanders, too. Will Russ left with an apparent concussion in the first half. Adrian Stanley, who handled punting duties in the absence of Ethan Anderson — who was out with an injury — left the game in the second half and would not return.
Clay County's first score came on a one-yard run by quarterback Nate Adams.
The Highlanders went to the air early, but a swing pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by the Bulldogs' Alex Kerr, giving them a 14-0 lead.
After that, Scott High kept the ball primarily on the ground. Strunk finished with 49 rushing yards, while Auton Whaley finished with 35 yards.
Clay County, meanwhile, extended its lead to 20-0 on a 30-yard run by Joseph Marcom, then scored on a 14-yard run by Marcom.
Later in the first half, Adams and Jimmy Burchett hooked up for a 44-yard touchdown, before a four-yard run by Adams to close out the first half.
The second half saw Marcom score his third touchdown on an 88-yard run that saw him double back deep in the backfield and elude several Scott High defenders to escape trouble and find an open route to the end zone.
Following the 76-yard Strunk-to-Griffin touchdown, Clay County scored to close out the game on a four-yard touchdown run by Adams.
The Bulldogs had used a time out just one play earlier, as the constantly-running clock ticked under a minute to play.