McGavock finished the regular season with a shutout win against Overton, 40-0 behind some suffocating defense and hard running from senior tailback Michael Bryant.
More importantly, the Raiders clinched fourth place in Region 6A-5 with the win, and McGavock (3-7, 3-3) will travel to face Brentwood (8-2) on Friday night at 7 p.m. for its first-round playoff matchup.
“It’s not about who’s on the other side of the field. It’s about who’s on our side of the field. It’s about what we do… Come to practice, prepare, and do what we are supposed to do,” said McGavock head coach Jay Gore.
The McGavock-Overton matchup started off slow for both teams. At the end of the first quarter, McGavock led 6-0. However, an interception by senior cornerback Kevonte Dorris sparked the Raiders in the second. On the following possession, quarterback Marcus Johnson ran in a 5-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 12-0 lead. Tailback Michael Bryant added a 25-yards touchdown run that gave McGavock a 19-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Raiders put Overton to rest. The McGavock defense forced three turnovers, which all led to touchdowns for McGavock. The Raiders forced six turnovers throughout the game. For the season, the Raiders averaged two forced turnovers a game.
“We were due,” Gore said. “We haven’t had that many all year…We were just due for it.”
Also, in the second half, senior running Michael Bryant was unleashed. Bryant had two jaw-dropping touchdown runs from 60 yards and 15 yards out. The running back had more than 100-yards rushing for the game with three touchdowns, and he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.
“Playoff time,” Bryant said. “This was my first year playing, and I wanted to make the best of it. I wanted to dominate and play for my team…This group of guys took me in as a freshmen senior, and I wanted to win for them.”
Coming into the game, the Raiders were on a two-game winning streak and seeking a playoff berth. All they needed to do was win and hope Cane Ridge beat LaVergne, and both of those scenarios happened. McGavock started off the season 0-7, but ended on a high note to win out against district rivals.
“We’re in the playoffs,” Gore said. “These seniors have been in the playoffs all four years…This is not like basketball, where everybody gets to go. In football, you have to earn your way in.”