By Austin Stanley, for the Williamson Herald
Vic Wharton scored what would be the game winning touchdown in the middle of the third quarter with a 1 yard run giving Independence its first lead against top-seeded, undefeated Overton, 17-14.
14 unanswered points by the Eagles (9-3) were enough to end the Bobcats’ season on their home field. With 1:37 left in the second quarter Overton extended its lead to 14-3 when quarterback Ugo Amadi threw his first pass of the game to running back Justin Martin, who took the swing pass 19 yards down the sideline to pay dirt.
The following minute and a half was when the momentum shifted to the Eagles, who kept that momentum the rest of the game.
“We just said ok let’s up the tempo,” Independence coach Scott Blade said. “It was obviously a two minute drill, run a fake punt, we’re not going to go quietly in the night. Let’s go try and score and make this thing a game.”
Score is what they did. On the final play of the half, Dom Childress powered the ball in from 1 yard out to cut the score to 14-10 at the break.
“Our kids at halftime were like ‘coach, I like this, I like this,’” Blade said. “And I go to them for what routes they like and what plays they like. At halftime is was let’s go. We know we’ve got two quarters left let’s go with it.”
The Overton defense is full of speed and Division-I talent and gave the Eagle offense trouble early. That talent was making it difficult for Independence to spread the ball around to its skill players like Wharton, Rashaan Gaulden, Deion Simms and others.
“It’s tough. I ain’t gonna lie to you,” Blade said. “We changed up some routes and did some different routes than we’ve done in that past. They did a great job of defensing it. We still were able to move the chains.”
“It was real tough,” Wharton said. “We had to make adjustments at halftime with taking me and Rashaan off the same side to make sure and free it up some. They were trying to double team us over there. With me going to quarterback in the second half I think that helped out as well with Dom Childress and Daniel Wright doing a good job lead blocking.”
Wharton ran out of the “Wildcat” formation to allow the Eagles to kill the clock and get first downs.
“That’s the whole idea,” Blade said. “We were playing the clock with that lead. It was 17-14. At that time it was ok let’s drain this clock, get it where they’ve got a long field. We did exactly what we wanted.”
Defensively a challenge all season has been stopping the run. Martin came into the game with 1,745 yards on the season. After his first three carries produced 63 yards and a score, his final 25 carries covered only 81 yards.
“We’ve been getting so much better since the Brentwood game,” Wharton said. “Brentwood game was the first game we did a great job of tackling and then we did a good job of containing those two guys from Rossview last week.”
“Fill the gaps, get bodies on bodies and gang tackle,” Blade said on slowing down Martin. “It was physical out there tonight. That was a well coached Overton team out there.”
Next week in the quarterfinals Independence gets to host Hendersonville who is coming off an overtime win over Station Camp 29-28.
“We want to play at home and we play great at home,” said Wharton. “We know we’ll have to stop the run again.”
Posted on: 11/15/2013