By Rickey Clardy
COALMONT — The Community Vikings had plenty of success moving the ball up and down the field for four quarters against the Grundy County Yellow Jackets, but the Vikings could not cash in three times on first-and-goal situations and had scores negated twice by penalties while the Yellow Jackets converted on two crucial fourth down attempts that led to points as the Vikings fell 37-18 in a Region 4-3A football contest Friday night.
The Vikings wasted little time getting their offense in gear on their opening possession as quarterback Maki Fleming connected with Aaron Graff on a 67-yard pass completion to give Community a first-and-goal at the Yellow Jacket 2-yard line.
But the Vikings could not push the ball past the goal line on four attempts as the Yellow Jackets took over deep in their own territory.
“We were waiting on it,” Coach Chris Grooms of the Vikings said. “They were keying on Maki, and it worked out pretty good for us.”
“We couldn’t punch it in the red zone on a formation change,” Grooms added.
The momentum swung back to the Vikings on the next play as a fumbled snap in the Grundy County end zone led to a safety and gave Community a 2-0 lead with 8:52 left.
The Vikings continued to move the ball on their next possession after the free kick, but a close miss on a pass at the goal line prevented Community from extending its lead. An interception on fourth down gave the Yellow Jackets the ball at their own 32.
The Yellow Jackets took four minutes on their drive before Kyler Hopkins scored from nine yards out to give Grundy County the lead.
The run for two by Hopkins was good as the Yellow Jackets led 8-2 with 2:15 remaining.
An unsuccessful Viking attempt on fourth down gave the Yellow Jackets the ball at the Community 35 as the game moved to the second quarter.
The Viking defense held the Yellow Jackets at bay on the Grundy County possession, but on fourth down and 14, Hopkins connected with Colton Rogers for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
The run by Hopkins was good as the Yellow Jackets took a 16-2 lead with 7:28 left.
Community started at its own 27 on its next possession that lasted over seven minutes, but Viking penalties took points off the scoreboard twice on the possession.
Despite the penalties, the Vikings had a first-and-goal at the Yellow Jacket 10-yard line, but
could not score as Grundy County held and took its lead into the intermission.
A 31-yard run on a reverse by Dakota Grayson for a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half extended the Yellow Jacket lead.
The 2-point conversion was good, giving Grundy County a 24-2 advantage.
The Vikings quickly responded as Fleming teamed up with Issac Jacobs for a 49-yard pass play and a touchdown.
Braxtin Landers was successful on the 2-point conversion as the Yellow Jackets led 24-10 with 9:44 left in the third quarter.
The next Grundy County drive took over six minutes and was highlighted by a successful conversion on a fourth-and-18 and led to an 8-yard run by Hopkins as the Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 31-10 with 3:21 left.
The ensuing Viking drive extended into the fourth quarter and ended with points as Fleming connected with Graff on a fourth-and-5 for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Landers ran for two as the Vikings cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 31-18 with 10:20 remaining.
Grundy County responded on its next possession as Rogers scored from one yard out.
The pass failed as the Yellow Jackets led 37-18 with 7:11 left.
The Vikings drove the ball into the red zone on their next possession and had a first-and-goal at the Yellow Jacket nine, but once again could not convert for points as the Yellow Jackets held and ran out the clock.
“We fought the whole time,” Grooms said. “They overcome adversity, they know they’re young, and we all make mistakes, and they hold each other accountable.”
“We just go to work every day.”
Community hosts Sequatchie County as the Vikings continue region play and celebrate homecoming next Friday night.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Community 2 0 8 8 — 18
Grundy Co. 8 8 15 6 — 37
C — Safety, (tackle in end zone) 8:52.
GC — Kyler Hopkins 9 run, (Hopkins run) 2:15.
GC — Colton Rogers 32 pass from Hopkins, (Hopkins run) 7:28.
GC — Dakota Grayson 31 run, (Will Foster pass from Hopkins) 10:31.
C — Issac Jacobs 49 pass from Maki Fleming, (Braxtin Landers run) 9:44.
GC – Hopkins 8 run, (Grayson kick) 3:21.
C — Aaron Graff 14 pass from Fleming, (Landers run) 10:20.
GC— Rogers 1 run, (pass failed) 7:11.