November 7, 2018
Do we win or do we not win? That is the question.
By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
I was a coach long before I entered my profession as a sports writer. I’ve seen some bizarre things as a coach and as a writer but none like saw on Friday. I watched Gatlinburg-Pittman during warm-ups and was amazed at their size and athleticism. They were impressive during their pregame drills and just as impressive when the game started. I kept wondering how this team ended up in downtown Mountain City playing Johnson County. Shouldn’t they have traveled to Erwin to play Unicoi County? I think so, but you make the call.
Coming up with a game plan
Gatlinburg-Pittman played at Kingston last Friday for third place. The loser of that game had no knowledge of who their first-round playoff opponent would be, but they did know this. They would not be playing No.1 ranked Alcoa should they make the second round. The Longhorns were ranked No. 5 in the state’s Class 3A poll while Unicoi County was listed as No.10. The winner of that game would take on No.8 Austin-East. The ranked trio of schools has good football teams, but none could match up with Alcoa. The Tornados are in a league of their own. They destroyed Gatlinburg-Pittman 56-0 during the regular season and Austin-East 31-8. Do we win or do we not win? That is the question.
Kingston dominated Gatlinburg-Pittman and won 20-7. The Highlanders never scored until late in the game and couldn’t move the football against the much smaller Yellow Jackets. The same G-P team that ran 70 plays against Johnson County and put up 36 points on the board. The one dominated time of possession and kept the football for over 75 percent of the time. Unicoi County handed Kingston a 27-20 defeat in the first round of the playoffs. The same Blue Devils team that Johnson County dominated 35-12 at home last week that decided the No.1 seed and conference championship.
Where was the Highlanders team that showed up at Kingston last week? They were nowhere to be found at Mountain City. G-P dominated time of possession against the Longhorns. They had the ball for over 18 minutes in the first half to the Longhorns five minutes plus. The final 24 minutes of the second half was about the same. G-P possessed the football for right at 17 minutes to Johnson County’s seven. They ran 70 offensive plays to Johnson County’s 20.
It’s worth repeating.
They held the Horns to only 45 yards rushing while racking up 225 on the ground and 95 more in the air. So how did the Longhorns stay in the game and nearly pull out of win despite running 50 less offensive plays than the Highlanders?
G-P doubled the Horns in first downs 16-8. They more than tripled them in plays ran from scrimmage, but the Longhorns had 345 yards of total offense to G-P’s 20.
That don’t add up and neither does Gatlinburg-Pittman’s loss at Kingston. But I guess it can happen.
The Longhorns scored five touchdowns on plays that netted 70 yards or more. They also had a 78-yard kickoff return for another score but somehow lost the game 36-33. All the above would appear impossible. Just like Gatlinburg-Pittman’s loss at Kingston. But it can happen. What’s up next for the Gatlinburg-Pittman at Austin-East winner? Do we win or do we not win? Alcoa, here we come. We’ll soon be done with troubles and trials. Tim Chambers is the sports editor for the Tomahawk. You can email him at email@example.com.