.The Hayesville Yellow Jackets football team played in their first football game of the year last night. They hosted the Franklin Panthers at home to open the season. First off it is great just to be able to play football this year for North Carolina athletes. With that said basketball and football had multiple weeks of overlap. This probably played a big part in Hayesvilles early game miscues, several bad snaps, and fumbles. Hayesville could not overcome the early mistakes as Franklin played solid winning 28-7.
In the first quarter, we saw Hayesville win the coin toss and take the aggressive approach choosing to receive. The first drive looked good picking up good yardage in the first few downs. Yet a false start penalty backed the Yellow Jackets up on third down and they were unable to complete their third-down pass. Hayesville looking at a 4th-8 to go chose to punt, a high snap on the punt led to the punter delaying his kick. It got partially deflected and resulted in only about a ten-yard net giving Franklin, great starting field position.
Franklin cashed in on that great field position by scoring quickly. Hayesville on their next drive went three and out once again having to punt. This time the snap went completely over the punter’s head into the endzone, with Franklin recovering it for a touchdown. Before you could even catch your breath the Yellow Jackets found themselves down 14-0.
Franklin had a good drive to end the first quarter and were on the Hayesville one-yard line to start the second quarter. They quickly punched it in on a QB sneak but missed the point-after try. Now leading 20-0 Franklin kicked off deep to Hayesville, who got a great return by senior Tyler Anderson out to their own 46-yard line. Blake McClure opened up the drive with a big 26-yard run, getting into Franklin territory. Later in the drive on Hayesvilles first play in the red zone Kyle Lunsford got some great blocking and ran for an 18-yard touchdown. Hayesville’s point-after try was good making the score 21-7 Franklin. The Panthers would tack on one more touchdown in the quarter making their lead 26-7 going into halftime.
The second half opened with a long offensive drive by Franklin, but just as the Panthers were getting into the red zone Hayesville forced a big fumble. Avery Leatherwood recovered it for the Yellow Jackets giving Hayesville a chance to get back in it. After getting one first down Hayesville had to punt. Franklin got the ball back but went three and out. Hayesville muffed the ensuing punt giving it back to Franklin in Yellow Jacket territory. After a few first downs, Hayesville forced a turnover on downs by Franklin on the last play of the fourth quarter.
On the second play of the fourth quarter why trying to evade pressure Hayesville quarterback Logan Caldwell was sacked in the endzone for a safety. This brought the score to Franklin 28 Hayesville 7. Forced to punt off after the safety. Senior Blake McClure unleashed a howitzer of a punt and punted the ball 68 yards forcing Franklin to start at their own 12-yard line. Note while the ball did get a good bounce it had 55 yards of carry in the air. The rest of the fourth quarter saw the two teams trade the ball back and forth several times. There was no more scoring in the game though. Franklin finishing off the win 28-7 in both of the team’s first game of the season.
Post Game Interview with Head Hayesville Coach Chad McClure:
Q: Yall played better in the second half after the early miscues any thoughts coach?
A: I think we are as good as they are if we play the way we can.
Q: Thoughts on your son Taylor McClure, I know there was some debate whether as a freshman he would play varsity or not. Yet he played a great game had some big tackles for loss.
A: You know it is a great opportunity for him and those other freshmen, we had a lot of freshmen on the field tonight at times. It’s like I told them were only going to get better from here.
Q: First game of the season other than some bumps and bruises it looks like yall came out of the game healthy?
A: I have not talked to our trainer yet but it looks like we’re pretty good.
Q: Tough having to play Robbinsville as is Friday night, what does this week look like for you with only three days to prep?
A: We will come in tomorrow, make sure everyone is healing, we will stretch, watch the film and get in the weight room. Try to fix some things we need to work on after evaluating the film. We’re blessed to have an opportunity to play. It did not turn out like we wanted but we have to learn from that and move on.
Notable Hayesville Stats:
Blake McClure: 12 carries for 64 yards rushing
Kyle Lunsford: 2 carries for 19 yards rushing and 1 TD
Team: 6 fumbles, 3 lost
Remember all Hayesville home football games this season will be broadcast live on fyntv.net. As well as on the fyntv app, available on all major app stores for any of your smart devices. To get updates or see how the Yellow Jackets have done tune in to all the latest FYN sports coverage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at https://claync.fetchyournews.com/category/teamfynsports