Rutledge had to make the winning kick twice in the cold and wet conditions after Bradley Central called a timeout right as the ball was snapped on Rutledge’s first attempt, which was good.
“That felt amazing. I was just glad our team got down there so I had that opportunity to kick it,” Rutledge said. “I knew they were going to call the timeout. It just gave me a couple more practice swings. I’m just glad I was just able to finish it off for us.”
Shane Austin went up between two defenders for a 35-yard catch from A.J. Stewart to set up the winning score. Stewart finished 10-of-18 passing for 110 yards and kept the ball 10 times for 53 yards.
Chris Thomas carried the ball 33 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hilltoppers (6-5), who must go on the road to defending state champion Maryville in Round 2 of the playoffs.
MEIGS COUNTY 48, SULLIVAN NORTH 7
DECATUR — Meigs County quarterback Aaron Swafford accounted for six touchdowns to power the top-ranked and undefeated Tigers past the Golden Raiders in a 2A first-round matchup.
Swafford rushed for four touchdowns and throw for a pair of scores, to Austin Judd and Caleb Hyde. Jackson Fritts had a long touchdown run for the game’s final score in the third quarter.
North scored its only touchdown on a quarterback sneak by Elijah Maness in the first quarter. It pulled within six points before the Tigers roared to a 35-7 halftime lead.
ROCKWOOD 7, HAMPTON 6
HAMPTON — After scoreless first half in which the Bulldogs lost two fumbles and the Tigers one, Rockwood pulled out the 2A first-round win when quarterback Nate Brackett scored a 1-yard touchdown and the Tigers kicked the extra point late in the third quarter.
Rockwood’s PAT came courtesy of junior Ben Woodall, who’d never played football before this season.
Lane Potter’s 60-yard touchdown dash in sloppy conditions put Hampton on top with 5:26 remaining in the third, but the Bulldogs’ 2-point conversion failed.
ELIZABETHTON 28, HOWARD 14
ELIZABETHTON — Trailing 6-0 with Howard driving for a potential game-controlling touchdown late in the first half, Elizabethton got a fourth-down stop and then hit a 90-yard touchdown connection from Carter Everett to Corey Russell on the next play, and the Cyclones earned the first-round 4A playoff win.
The Cyclones needed nearly all of the 347 all-purpose yards produced by Russell to hold off the school from Chattanooga.
Elizabethton (10-1) earned a rematch at the place its season ended last year. The Cyclones will travel to meet unbeaten Anderson County (11-0) in the second round. Anderson crushed Union County 54-0.
EASTSIDE 28, CASTLEWOOD 8
CASTLEWOOD — Garrett White and Jordan Rasnick achieved milestones and Eastside stymied Castlewood in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Rasnick, a senior quarterback, threw for 229 yards to surpass 2,000 yards for the season and 4,000 for his Eastside career. He hit Nick Raymond for an 8-yard touchdown and connected with Nick Livingston on a 57-yard score and finished 14-of-24 passing.
Whited, a junior, eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season and scored on a 9-yard run.
The Blue Devils avoided the shutout when Brue Mullins raced off on a 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
RIDGEVIEW 58, HONAKER 13
HONAKER — Trenton Adkins and Matthew Sexton combined for 248 yards and six touchdowns and the Wolfpack plowed over the Tigers in their nondistrict regular-season finale. Adkins scored on runs of 5, 1 and 43 yards and reeled in an 85-yard TD reception from Tyler O’Quinn. Sexton added a pair of TDs.
Nick Phillips, who rushed for 68 yards on five carries, and McKenzie Sproles also scored for the Wolfpack.
Ridgeview (9-1) amassed over 400 yards of offense, including 331 on the ground, to warm up for next week’s Region 2D home playoff game.
Honaker's only points came in the second half when Levi Miller connected with Chandler Hubbard for two scores.
RYE COVE 28, TWIN SPRINGS 8
CLINCHPORT — Mason Hardin rushed for 133 yards to lead Rye Cove past county rival Twin Springs for tits first Cumberland District victory of the season.
Hardin ran for two touchdowns and caught a Tyler Darnell pass for a 93-yard TD to lead the Eagles (4-6, 1-4). Chase Love added a 1-yard TD run. Matthew Gibson recorded 16 tackles, and Matthew Hardin had nine tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery for Rye Cove.
Twin Springs (1-9, 0-5) got on the board in the second quarter when John Lane collected a 26-yard scoring strike from Mason Elliot.
WISE CENTRAL 28, GRUNDY 27
NORTON — The Warriors scored 22 straight points, including a pair of 2-point conversions, and held off a late run by the Golden Wave to close out the regular season with a win and secure a spot in next week’s playoffs.
C.J. Crabtree had 17 carries for 160 yards and two scores, and Ethan Mullins added two TDs for Central (4-6, 2-4). The Warriors’ defense held the Golden Wave on two 2-point attempts in their fourth-quarter comeback.
Gabe Fiser had 27 carries for 148 yards and one score for Grundy.
UNION 12, JOHN BATTLE 0
BRISTOL, Va. — Union rebounded from last week's loss to Abingdon by shutting out host John Battle.
Justin Falin reeled in a 25-yard TD pass from Bailey Turner in the first quarter to stake the Bears to a 6-0 lead. That score held through three quarters before Union running back Aaron Stidham scored from a yard out with 8:17 to play.
While the VHSL power points rankings and playoff seeding are not official just yet, the Bears (8-2, 4-2 Mountain 7) and Trojans (5-5, 3-3) could again next week at Bullitt Park in the Region 2D playoffs.