As the rain fell Friday night at VanHooser Stadium in Smithville, so did the curtain on the DeKalb County Tigers' 2015 football season. Despite playing a tremendous football game, the Tigers were eliminated from the Class 3A State Playoffs, with a 23-22 loss to the Chattanooga Christian Chargers.
The Tigers took the lead at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter on the 48-yard pass from quarterback Steven Jennings to Isaiah Jones. Kicker, Matthew Poss connected on the extra point, and the Tigers led 7-0.
Not wasting any time, the Chargers took their ensuing possession 65-yards, scoring on the sixth play of the drive with a 13-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Mercer to Justin Wheeler. Kicker Will Patton tied the game at seven with the good PAT with just 1:49 remaining in the first quarter.
After a 6-yard punt by the Chargers, the Tigers began their series on the Chargers' 35-yard line. The Tigers, once again, took the lead behind the legs of Steven Jennings. A five-yard touchdown run by Jennings with 11:02 remaining in the second quarter, followed by Matthew Poss' good PAT, put the score at 14-7.
With 10:15 remaining in the third quarter, the Chargers narrowed the gap to 14-10 with a 27-yard field goal by kicker Will Patton.
After trading possession of the football, the Tigers defense, once again, forced the Chargers to punt. However, a fake punt that resulted in a 76-yard touchdown run by Chattanooga’s Will Patton shocked the Tigers and gave the lead to the Chargers for the first time in the game. The score came just as the horn sounded, marking the end of the third quarter. The PAT was no good, but the Chargers led 16-14.
With just 7:11 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Tigers regained the lead. Tiger running back senior A.J. Mooneyham banged his way across the goal line to give his team the lead.
Going for two, DeKalb once again called Mooneyham’s number. With great second effort, Mooneyham’s run into the end zone gave the Tigers a 22-16 lead.
On the Chargers’ sixth play of their ensuing drive, a 33-yard touchdown pass tied the game with just 5:18 remaining in the game. the kick by Patton put the score at 23-22.
The Tigers had a chance to win the game on their next possession with just over five minutes remaining. The Tigers’ offense went to work and marched down the field, aided by two key penalties by the Chargers.
On the ninth play of the drive, a potential game winning 6-yard run by Tiger quarterback Steven Jennings was called back on a controversial chop block. Three plays later, on fourth and goal from the Chargers’ three-yard line, the Tigers missed another game winning opportunity. A 22-yard field goal attempt by Matthew Poss sailed right, sending the visitors into a frenzy, securing the 23-22 win for the Chargers.
With the loss, the Tigers end the season with a 7-4 record.