It took an extra day but the third time was definitely the charm for the Knoxville Central football team.
Led by a opportunistic offense and a suffocating defense that only allowed Henry County 131 yards of total offense and seven first downs, Central won their first state title in their third try out lasting Henry County 14-9 for the Class 5A state title.
The 5A title game was slated for Saturday at 7 pm but lightening and rain delayed the game and then postponed it until 2 pm today.
After losing in 4A state title games in 1999 and 2016, the Bobcats won their first state title this time in 5A and joins Whitwell (1A) as schools that won their first state title over the weekend.
The Bobcats (13-2) started the season 0-2 but will enter the 2019 season with a 13 game winning streak as Xavier Washington scored on a 10 yard run to extend the Central lead to 14-3 in the third quarter.
Henry County responded with a touchdown on their first drive of the fourth quarter as junior running back Jaylon Foster scored on a 12 yard run to cut the deficit to 14-9.
The Patriots (13-2) then went for two but Foster was tackled and the conversion was no good.
Henry County got on the board first as they took advantage of a 15 yard punt by the Bobcats and added a 30 yard field goal by Darrius Stephens for a quick 3-0 Patriot lead.
Central took a 7-3 lead to the half as junior quarterback Dakota Fawyer hit Daunte Holliday for a 39 yard touchdown pass.
Bobcat sophomore linebacker Kalib Fortner made eight tackles, had three tackles for loss, two sacks and forced a fumble and was named the game’s MVP.
Fawyer had 106 yards passing for Central while junior linebacker Paul Atkins made 11 tackles for Henry County, while Foster added 59 yards on the ground and quarterback Will Parrish passed for 72 yards.
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