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Tomahawk Talk: Quality football being played only a few miles away

 

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

It’s a great time of year for Johnson County residents to take a leisurely drive through Trade and into Boone to see the fall colors. It’s also a great time for local football fans to go and see the black and gold being displayed on a football, Saturday at Appalachian State University.
The Mountaineers nearly shocked the football world for a second time on Saturday but fell in overtime at No. 10 ranked Penn State 45-38.
The school is only 30 minutes away yet so far for many. They shocked the world 11 years ago on September 1, 2007, by defeating No. 5 Michigan 34-32 by blocking a last-second field goal attempt.
Saturday they played Penn State down to the wire in front of 105,232 hostile fans inside of Beaver Stadium. The Mountaineers had taken a 38-31 lead on a 16-yard touchdown run by Jalin Moore with 1:12 remaining in the game.
I found myself glued to the television, hoping for another miracle finish.

Only this time it
didn’t happen.
Appy’s sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas proved
that he could stand toe-to-toe with Penn State’s Heisman
Trophy candidate Trace McSorley.
Then there was Darrynton Evans who returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. They also have a quality field goal kicker in Chandler Staton who helped break a 7-7 tie with a 38-yard field goal early in the game.
Penn State tied the game with 57 seconds remaining on a 15-yard touchdown pass from McSorley to K.J. Hamler who got them good field position with a 52-yard kickoff return.

Could Appy pull off
another miracle finish?
They nearly did.
They got a final chance to in the game in regulation, but Staton barely missed a 56-yard field goal attempt wide right. Close, but no cigar.
Penn State scored on their first possession in overtime and ended the contest with an interception. They had dodged a Mountaineer bullet as many others have.
Just ask our beloved Tennessee Volunteers. It took overtime for them to come away with a 20-13 victory in 2016. The Vols were ranked No. 9 in the county at the time.
The Mountaineers will play their home opener on September 15 at 3:30 against Southern Mississippi University.
It might be a little early for the fall colors to be noticeable by then.
But you can bet that the black and gold colors will stand out just like they did against Penn State and Tennessee.