The Greeneville Greene Devils and Haywood Tomcats put on a show for the Cookeville crowd at the 4A championship game on Thursday afternoon. 77 combined points were scored with 56 of those points coming in the first half. However, Greeneville pulled away after the break to win 56-21 and capture their second consecutive TSSAA 4A title.
Haywood started the game off with a bang when Taylor Shields returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Greeneville responded with an 8 play 65 yard drive capped off by a Ty Youngblood 3 yard touchdown dive. The momentum pendulum continued to swing back and forth as Tomcat QB Deyondrius Hines broke off a 49 yard touchdown run on a QB sweep followed by a Greeneville touchdown run of 2 yards by 4A Mr. Football Cade Ballard. Haywood answered again with a 12 yard Decourtney Reed touchdown scamper to regain the lead at 21-14. It didn’t seem possible at the time but the Reed score would be the last points scored by Haywood in the ballgame. Greenville added another Youngblood and Ballard rushing touchdown and a score by Jacques Gillespie before halftime to take a 35-21 lead into the break.
The rainy conditions seemed to affect Haywood and the Tomcats lost three fumbles in the ballgame. The Greeneville offense continued to roll, though, and finished with 493 total yards. The Greene Devils scored in the second half on Ballard’s third and fourth rushing touchdowns of the day and on another Gillespie rush. The running clock was put into effect late in the fourth quarter as Greeneville prevailed by a final score of 56-21. Cade Ballard was named game MVP and finished with 178 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns. He also threw for 95 yards. Jacques Gillespie added another 173 rushing yards with 2 touchdowns as the Greene Devils controlled the line of scrimmage all afternoon.