Claiborne battles, loses shootout with Union

The Bulldogs of Claiborne County, fresh off a victory against Pigeon Forge, made the short trip south to play rival Union County, Aug. 30. Claiborne was looking for their first 2-0 start in many years, and Union was looking to rebound from a season-opening loss.

Claiborne threatened first getting down to the five-yard line of the Patriots but fumbled a great chance away. The Patriots took over and made a drive of their own. Storm Livesay was injured and taken from the game as the Patriots drive continued into Bulldogs territory. The Patriots scored first and after the PAT led 7-0.

Claiborne rallied back, and they scored on a Eli Stone pass to Ethan Poore. The two-point conversion failed and the score was 7-6. The Patriots drove and rushed for their second TD of the game to lead 14-6 with five minutes left in the half.

Claiborne rallied back and matched the Patriots TD with a long pass from Stone to Hadyn Hollin making the score 14-12 after the conversion failed. The Patriots’ Alonzo Creech got free on a long run that set up their third score of the night, 21-12.

Claiborne drove again and scored after a long pass to Poore. Stone ran it in, but Claiborne again missed on the conversion try to cut the Patriot lead to 21-18. The half ended with Union enjoying a three-point advantage.

Coming out of the locker room, Claiborne needed something good to happen, and it almost did when Poore and Stone barely missed on another bomb.

Neither team was playing lights out early in the third quarter, but Stone pulled the ball from Livesay on a read and scored giving the visiting Bulldogs their first lead, 24-21. They tried to surprise the Patriots with an onside kick but failed to recover handing them the ball on their own 40-yard line.

The Patriots made the Bulldogs regret the decision and placed seven more on the board in the process retaking the lead at 28-24. It was Claiborne’s time to score as Hollin scored with a reception around 50 yards making it 30-28, and Claiborne had the lead again.

Claiborne kept scoring touchdowns with Isaac Lester setting up a Stone run for one and then Poore found the end zone again. By the end of the game the offense had scored 45 points on the road, but the Bulldogs were on the wrong end of a shootout and lost 54-45.

Stats of note: The two teams combined for 41 fourth quarter points. Stone had seven TD’s (4 passing, 3 rushing, 489 total yards), Hollin had 231 yards receiving with two TD’s and two conversion receptions, Poore had four catches for 142 yards and two TD’s while defensively Grant Johnson had 10 solo tackles and two assists.