COOKEVILLE- For the last three playoff rounds, Whitwell has been the cardiac fourth quarter kids erasing deficits and winning football games.
In their first appearance in the state title game, Whitwell won the Class 1A state title in dramatic fashion as Tanner Stewart caught a 15 yard touchdown pass from senior Hudson Petty with 7:31 left in regulation.
The Tigers (15-0) were outgained 308 to 122 for the game and trailed Cornersville 6-0 before Stewart’s touchdown catch.
Whitwell’s defense then had to withstand a last second Cornersville drive as they stopped Cornersville (14-1) on the last play of the game to preserve the win.
Now all three Marion County schools in Whitwell, Marion County and South Pittsburg have won state football titles.
It was a magical season for Whitwell as they not only finished undefeated but they defeated Class 2A runner up Trousdale County, county rival South Pittsburg twice and in the semifinals defeated 1A defending champion Greenback to get to Cookeville.
They also enter a small club joining Nashville Christian (1A in 2015), Lausanne (Division II-A in 2016) and Farragut (5A in 2016) as teams that won a state championship in their first appearance in the title game.
Petty was named as the game’s MVP after he rushed for 58 yards, had a touchdown pass and made 16 tackles while teammate Thunder Roberts also added 19 tackles for the Tigers.
For Cornersville, Eli Woodard rushed for 139 yards and Cameron Whitaker added 124 yards in the loss.
Email Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew