Gatlinburg-Pittman crushes Cocke County
GATLINBURG — The first game at the resurfaced Legion Field of Hammonds Stadium couldn’t have gone much better for the Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders.
Benny Hammonds’ squad capitalized on three costly first-half turnover from District 2-AAA’s Cocke County Fighting Cocks, to jump out to a 27-0 halftime lead en route to a 35-0 shutout win.
“Any time you can get a win of that magnitude (is great),” coach Benny Hammonds said after the victory.
G-P’s senior quarterback, Tanner Cox, was on point all night for the Blue and Gold, as he completed 9-of-15 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns.
Cox’s top target was Jeremy Odom. The shifty speed merchant hit on back-to-back TD bombs from Cox in the first quarter.
The first score came just moments after Cox had intercepted a Jordan Carpenter pass inside Highlanders’ territory at the G-P 25-yard line.
On 2nd-and-11 Cox saw Odom bolting down the left sideline and threw a beautiful spiral to hit the receiver in stride for a 75-yard score.
“Jeremy had single coverage on that little cornerback, and I knew he could beat him outside,” Cox said. “The line gave me all the protection I needed, I just threw it out there, and he ran and caught it for a touchdown.”
With CCHS looking to answer and driving into G-P territory, Highlanders defensive end Riley Trotter made a heads-up play on a Cocke County fumble and got the ball back for the Blue and Gold at their own 42.
A play later and Odom was in the end zone again, this time after a 58-yard pass play.
“That kind of swung the momentum our way … and I just like the way our guys just stayed after it, kept playing hard and got the job done,” Hammonds said.
Odom ended the game with 133 yards receiving on the two catches.
Before halftime Michael Muszik — who ended thew game with 139 yards on 25 carries — found paydirt twice, once on a 36-yard blast through the middle of the Big Red defense and the other on a two-yard dive which capitalized on a Trotter interception inside Cocke County’s 10.
The lone score of the second half came on an 8-yard play-action TD pass from Cox to Trotter following a 45-yard drive that featured a heavy dose of Muszik running the football for steady chunks.
Gatlinburg will have a tough challenge next week, as they travel to Greenback to face the Cherokees. Greenback toppled Sweetwater 41-14 in Week 0 action.