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Falcons cruise past mistake-prone Warriors

Allen LaMountain • Aug 18, 2018 at 1:55 AM

ELIZABETHTON — Volunteer made the most of Happy Valley’s mistakes Friday night and gave Justin Pressley a victory in his head coaching debut with the Falcons.

In the first half alone, the Warriors committed six penalties — for 50 yards — and fumbled five times — losing one — in suffering a 33-7 season-opening loss to Volunteer on Warrior Hill.

“Too many negative plays,” said assistant coach Greg Hyder, who led the Warriors while coach Jason Jarrett served a one-game suspension. “Offensively we weren’t great, stemming from bad snaps to penalties; it was a dirty game. We played dirty offensively and the game got away from us early. We’re young, but we don’t want to use that as an excuse.”

The Falcons’ fourth possession of the game ended in a touchdown on a 9-yard pass from junior quarterback Eli Dorton to flanker Peyton Derrick. The drive began at the Warriors’ 36-yard line and was jump-started by a 38-yard pass from Dorton to Peyton Baker down the visitors’ sideline — handing Volunteer a first down at the 12.

Happy Valley mustered just 4 yards of total offense in the first half and had three fumbles on the center exchange.

The one first-half fumble the Warriors lost set up the Falcons with first-and-goal at the 10.

Three plays later, Derrick swept left and scampered in for the score. The point-after kick failed and the Falcons led 13-0.

Dorton completed 11 of 19 passes in the first half for 79 yards.

Volunteer’s defense impressed, holding the Warriors to 4 rushing yards on 15 attempts.

At the beginning of the second half, the Warriors had a smart drive going after a 23-yard Will Tittle to Bryce Carter pass and a 16-yard Tittle run. But Tittle fumbled on the carry, and Bryson Miller scooped up the ball and raced 80 yards for a Falcons touchdown.

Volunteer continued to enjoy its offensive success. Isaiah Bragg scored on a 43-yard run up the visiting sideline, and the third period ended with the Falcons up 27-0.

Cameron Johnson scored on an 80-yard run to stake the Falcons to a 33-0 lead.

Tittle found Carter for a 64-yard scoring strike on the first play from scrimmage after the Johnson run.

Dorton completed 5 of 10 passes for 134 yards before being ejected for a crack-back block. His availability for the Falcons’ game next week at home against Sullivan South is in question.

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