Odom's play huge for Gatlinburg-Pittman
Jeremy Odom may be just 5-foot-9, but his play is big and bold.
The Gatlinburg-Pittman senior wasn’t afraid to take risks Thursday. Now, the Highlanders can celebrate one of their sweetest wins in program history.
“He’s a playmaker,” G-P quarterback Tanner Cox said. “He’s the biggest playmaker on our team. He’s got great speed, fastest kid on the team. He’s a great receiver, great on defense. Great at whatever he does.”
No one was around the ball more than Odom in the Highlanders’ history-making 32-15 win over Austin-East. That was obvious over a critical five-minute stretch in the second quarter. The cornerback returned a pick 62 yards for a touchdown, was promptly burned on a 66-yard pass that led to a touchdown and then caught a wide-open 33-yard touchdown from Cox.
You can catch your breath now.
“He’s always been a daring-type player,” said Highlanders coach Benny Hammonds. “He has no fear. He’s got as strong a motor as anyone I’ve ever coached.”
His pick-six gave G-P a 12-0 lead, seemingly giving the Highlanders control in the midst of a sloppy first half. He simply jumped in front of Roadrunners receiver Jaquail Williams and took it cleanly all the way to the bright yellow end zone at Hammonds Stadium.
“(Odom) made a great play,” said Austin-East coach Jeff Phillips. “He jumped the route. You take a gamble. He gambled and guessed right. That’s a good coaching play for them.”
More impressive was what happened next. The Roadrunners went after Odom on the very next play, running a hitch-and-go that the senior bit on. He slipped going for another pick and Williams got past him.
But instead of a sure touchdown, Odom somehow chased the receiver down and took him out at the 8-yard line. Austin-East eventually scored on the drive, pulling within five.
But Odom wasn’t done. Facing a third down on the next drive, Cox rolled out and found a wide-open Odom for a 33-yard touchdown strike that zapped any energy the Roadrunners had gained.
“Definitely a momentum change right there,” said G-P running back Zeke Williams. “He’s a big-time player. He gets the momentum changed for us day-by-day, game-by-game.”
Odom wasn’t eager to take all the credit for his second-quarter blitz of action that included a fumble recovery and another touchdown that was called back on a penalty. It was Cox and the line that were responsible for his touchdown catch. The defensive plays? They were just about trying to be in the right place and doing what he was taught.
Odom and the Highlanders showed this G-P team isn’t just a one-dimensional or even two-dimensional threat. They can make plays all over the field.
“They didn’t even think about me or any other receiver,” Odom said. “Their main focus was stopping (Michael) Muszik. We have multiple threats on offense and our defense is one of the greatest I think we’ve had up here in a long time.”