The problem showed its ugly head again Friday when Grainger ran all over the Falcons for a 52-20 nonconference win on Volunteer’s homecoming night.
The Grizzlies (2-3) racked up 400 yards on 49 attempts — a staggering 8.16 yards per play — and had seven rushing touchdowns.
Preston Owens had five scores for Grainger as he finished the night with 169 yards on 26 carries. His teammate in the backfield, Mark Lamka, finished with 197 yards on 18 rushes and two scores.
“We made a lot of mistakes and errors,” Volunteer head coach Justin Pressley said. “Defensively, we’ve got to get tougher. We got pushed around a lot on defense. We had guys that were out of place a lot.”
Volunteer (2-4) had a halftime lead at 14-8, but the third quarter and game turned sour for the Falcons.
The third quarter plagued Volunteer again after a bad one last week against rival Cherokee, as the Grizzlies scored 24 straight points. On Volunteer’s first possession of the second half, quarterback Eli Dorton fumbled on a third-and-short to give the ball back to Grainger.
On the very next play, Owens scored from 45 yards away, but the touchdown was negated by a holding call. However, the Grizzlies ran the same play to the opposite side of the field and Owens scored from 43 yards out.
It was just that kind of night for the Falcons.
In the fourth period, Dorton was hit hard after a pass and landed on his shoulder. He was replaced by Garrison Barrett, who finished the game.
Dorton finished his night 8-of-13 for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 53 yards on 15 attempts. Barrett went 1-of-6 for 26 yards and one interception.
One player that stood out for the Falcons was Peyton Derrick, who accounted for two of Volunteer’s scores. He caught a 23-yard touchdown from Dorton near the end of the first half and also ran one in near the end of the game.
Derrick totaled 10 carries for 108 yards.
“We were trying to find new ways to get Peyton the ball,” Pressley said. “We’re trying not to wear out some of our guys. I probably shouldn’t have ran Eli as much. … Eli is going to be fine, I think. I don’t want to speculate at this time.”
Volunteer has another tough game on Friday when the Falcons travel to Tennessee High.