The undefeated Nolensville High School football team compiled some gaudy statistics on Thursday night during a 51-6 victory over winless Glencliff.
In the end, though, it wasn’t the Knights’ numbers that made the most lasting impression. Rather, it was the sportsmanship showed by Nolensville during the closing moments of the one-sided contest that is likely to be the most talked-about element of the game.
Late in the fourth quarter, with Nolensville leading 51-0, Glencliff quarterback Markel Dudley connected with Arye Tahir for a 68-yard scoring pass. The Knights fans cheered loudly after the score, applauding the efforts of a team that had only about two dozen players dressed out.
However, there was a flag on the play — a holding call against the Colts (0-8), which appeared to nullify the touchdown. But the Nolensville coaching staff elected to decline the penalty, setting off another big cheer from the Knights’ fans.
“Honestly, at first, I didn’t even think about declining it, because normally you would never do that,” said Nolensville head coach Paul Derrick. “But our crowd was cheering, which was pretty cool. And you know what? They made a play. So why not let them enjoy that and get that touchdown?”
Obviously, the touchdown had no impact on the game’s outcome. But in the bigger picture, it surely meant something to a Glencliff program that is enduring a difficult stretch.
The Colts – who have been outscored 465-40 in their eight losses this season – recently appeared to be on the verge of cancelling the rest of their season due to a lack of participation. However, the team was ultimately able to continue when multiple players who had left the team decided to rejoin the program.
As for Thursday’s game, it unfolded in the manner that was widely expected: Nolensville ran six offensive plays in the first quarter – and scored touchdowns on five of those six snaps.
Nolensville scored twice in the first 30 seconds to build a 14-0 lead, and then tacked on the three more quick scores to extend the advantage to 34-0 before the first quarter ended. The Knights added two more TDs in the second quarter for a 48-0 halftime lead. The abbreviated second half was played with a running clock. Nick Beattie’s 26-yard field goal capped the scoring the Knights.
Quarterback Ryder Galardi attempted just three passes, but all three went for touchdowns — one to Colton Dobson (22 yards), another to Parker Price (20 yards) and, the longest of the night, to Tim Coutras (48 yards) — to help the Knights roll to the victory and keep their perfect record intact.
“(Being 7-0) means a lot to us,” said Galardi. “I am so proud of our team. We never done this (at Nolensville) before. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Samson Johnson had two rushing touchdowns, on runs of 4 and 5 yards, and Price finished with two catches for 56 yards. Ryan Pistulka also had a rushing touchdown and finished with 34 yards on four carries. The Nolensville defense accounted for a touchdown when Toli Rich returned a fumble eight yards for a score in the second quarter.
Derrick said his team did a nice job of taking care of business, even amid the unusual circumstances of playing on a Thursday night (due to fall break) and facing a team that recently had its season in jeopardy.
“I’m glad this game was able to happen,” said Derrick. “I mean, you only get 10 of them. So, I am glad we got a chance to play. We just wanted to make sure we handled it the right way.”
Derrick said his team’s biggest takeaway from the game was simply taking another step forward and continuing to move toward its goals.
“We just wanted to focus on ourselves,” he said. “That’s the mentality we take week to week. We talk about playing faceless opponents. We just focus on trying to get better, week to week.”
Nolensville hosts Maplewood next week in a key late-season contest.
“Anytime you are winning, the games continue to get bigger and bigger,” Derrick said. “Maplewood is coming here, and we know what they are all about, having played them four times in the past two years. We are very familiar with each other. We will need a great week of preparation.”
Nolensville 51, Glencliff 6
GHS – 0 0 0 6 — 6
NHS – 34 14 3 0 — 51
1Q (11:37) — Nolensville: Colton Dobson 22 pass from Ryder Galardi (Luke Jenkins kick)
1Q (11:20) — Nolensville: Parker Price 20 pass from Galardi (Jenkins kick)
1Q (9:55) — Nolensville: Ryan Pistulka 12 run (Jenkins kick)
1Q (8:02) — Nolensville: Tim Coutras 48 pass from Galardi (Jenkins kick)
1Q (5:36) — Nolensville: Samson Johnson 4 run (kick failed)
2Q (2:44) — Nolensville: Johnson 5 run (Jenkins kick)
2Q (1:39) — Nolensville: Toli Rich 8 fumble return (Jenkins kick)
3Q (3:45) — Nolensville: Nick Beattie 26 FG
Ryder Galardi 3-3-0-3 — 85; Brayden Rose 1-2-0-0 — 36; Coby Walton 1-1-0-0 — 3; Ryder Hagan 0-1-0-0 — 0.
Ryan Pistulka 4-34, Tim Coutras 1-35, Samson Johnson 4-27, Parker Price 1-12, Graham Davis 4-27, Ryder Hagan 3-(-3), Jalen Jackson 1-7, Cameron Groves 1-12, Coby Walton 2-(-1).
Colton Dobson 1-22, Parker Price 2-56, Tim Coutras 1-43, Alex Barnes 1-3.