After a tumultuous summer that seemed as if football season would never come, the McGavock Raiders (0-1) finally took the field on Friday night against the Goodpasture Cougars (5-1) in a 42-12 loss.
Friday marked the first night that Metro Nashville schools were allowed to play games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. McGavock was supposed to play Hillwood. Goodpasture was supposed to play Boyd-Buchanan.
On Wednesday night, it appeared as if Goodpasture wasn’t playing this week when Boyd-Buchanan notified Cougars coach Tyler Turner that they were unable to make the trip to Madison. On Thursday night, it appeared as if McGavock would have to wait yet another week to play a football game when Raiders coach Jay Gore was notified that Hillwood was unable to play.
Both teams just wanted to play, and luckily for them, a connection between the two schools was sparked and McGavock was able to finally get on the field.
“We feel very fortunate just to have the opportunity to play,” Gore said. “Did we play as well as we wanted to? No. But we haven’t touched a weight since March 13, we haven’t been able to hit, we haven’t been able to practice the way we’d like to practice, we missed spring practice…we had a chance not to play tonight because Hillwood canceled. But I knew our kids wanted to play. Win or lose, I knew our kids just wanted to play.”
For Turner, the experience of losing a game on Wednesday and salvaging a Friday game was a unique experience that he and his team will never forget.
“We called eight or nine different schools on Thursday and either they found somebody already or they were going to use the week as a bye week,” Turner said. “So, McGavock comes open and they call me (Thursday) night at about 8:30 p.m. and said ‘Coach, we just want to play.’
“Coach Gore is a class act and I’m glad he got his kids a chance to play.”
Once the possibility of a game between the two schools existed, Turner messaged all of his players on the Remind app at 9 p.m. on Thursday to inform them that they might have a game and to get to bed for an adequate amount of sleep.
After checking with the Davidson County school district, the game was cleared and at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, both teams were notified that they were allowed to take the field.
Once the game finally kicked off, it quickly became obvious which team was playing their sixth game and which was playing their first on minimal practice.
“The funny thing was, and we told them all week long, that we were going to fumble, we were going to throw an interception, we were going to line up wrong,” Gore said.
Gore was correct.
Goodpasture quarterback Cooper Pennington’s 38-yard touchdown pass to Josh Williams topped off a 59-yard opening drive to put Goodpasture up 7-0 just 98 seconds into the game.
On the first McGavock play, quarterback Isaiah Burns fumbled the snap and Goodpasture recovered and eventually scored again on a three-yard touchdown rush by Musa Wellman. Just like that, Goodpasture was up 14-0 less than three minutes into the game.
The Raiders went three-and-out on the next possession and Goodpasture capitalized with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Pennington to Brendan Jones.
The next Raider drive brought a first down but after being forced to punt, Pennington found Jones again along the sideline for an 83-yard touchdown pass to extend the Cougar lead to 28-0 with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter.
The interception Gore foreshadowed occurred on the next drive as Burns’ pass was picked off by David Harris. Goodpasture converted the turnover into seven more points when Pennington found Williams in the end zone for the second time from eight yards out.
The Cougar scoring onslaught in the first half finally ceased after a 37-yard pass from Pennington to Andrew McWilliams was completed in the end zone to give the Cougars a commanding 42-0 lead going into halftime.
The second half saw two Raider scores after Goodpasture inserted its backups into the game. McGavock running back Markellus Bass scored the first McGavock touchdown of the season with a one-yard touchdown run and late in the fourth quarter. Then Cougar snap flew over the head of backup quarterback Cade Jackson and was recovered in the end zone by McGavock’s James Hill. The final score of the game was 42-12 in favor of Goodpasture, their fifth win of 2020.
Goodpasture improved to 5-1 (1-1 DII-AA Middle Region) with the win. The Cougars were coming off a 45-13 loss to Lipscomb Academy.
“It’s all about being resilient,” Turner told his players. “Things happen in life that aren’t going to go your way, so how do we react? Last week we had a tough week, so it was good to get this week to play after getting thumped…win, lose or draw, we just wanted to play again.”
Gore’s goal was not to take this game for granted because in a COVID-19 world, no game is a given.
“We had the opportunity not to play, but we decided to play because the next week could get canceled and for the next week, we don’t know,” Gore said. “How are we going to deal with adversity? That’s been our whole thing this year.
“Softball and baseball lost their whole seasons. We’re just working towards maybe having a season. We’re just fortunate to play the game, we’re hoping we can continue to play them and we’re just trying to get better and carry on.”
McGavock (0-1) is scheduled to play at Stewarts Creek on Thursday, Oct. 1. Goodpasture will travel to Franklin Road Academy the following night.
Rushing yards: McGavock (154), Goodpasture (122)
Passing yards: McGavock (8), Goodpasture (255)
Total yards: McGavock (162), Goodpasture (377)
Rushing: Markellus Bass (McGavock)-14 carries, 74 yards, 1 TD. Chris Lacy (McGavock)- 8 carries, 33 yards. Isaiah Burns (McGavock)- 11 carries, 24 yards. Devin Griffin (McGavock)- 3 carries, 9 yards. Jared Ishie (McGavock)- 5 carries, 14 yards
Jeremy Seepaul (Goodpasture)- 3 carries, 3 yards. Musa Wellman (Goodpasture)- 12 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD. Bryson Jones (Goodpasture)- 7 carries, 16 yards. Cooper Pennington (Goodpasture)- 2 carries, 24 yards. Cade Jackson (Goodpasture) 1 carry, 3 yards.
Passing: Jared Ishie (McGavock)- 1/2, 3 yards. Isaiah Burns (McGavock), 2/4, 5 yards, 1 INT.
Cooper Pennington (Goodpasture)- 9/9 255 yards, 5 TDs.
Receiving: Devin Griffin (McGavock)- 2 catches, 5 yards, Chris Lacy (McGavock)- 1 catch, 3 yards.
Brendan Jones (Goodpasture)- 6 catches, 172 yards, 2 TDs. Josh Williams (Goodpasture)- 2 catches, 46 yards, 2 TDs. Andrew McWilliams (Goodpasture)- 1 catch, 37 yards, 1 TD.