COLUMBIA — Sullivan South’s bid to knock off highly favored Columbia Central fell short 28-14 on Friday at Lindsey-Nelson Stadium in the first round of the TSSAA 5A playoffs.
Senior tailback Chris Martin had a career-high four touchdowns and 189 yards rushing for the Lions (9-2), who next will host fellow District 8-AAA foe Tullahoma, which eliminated White County 37-13 at home Friday.
“Our boys overcame the adversity and played hard. They played good for most of the game,” said Sullivan South coach Sam Haynie. “We missed on a play in the first quarter, and they stopped us on that goal-line stand in the second period.”
Martin capped a 67-yard drive with a 5-yard run on the opening series, then scored from the 8 in the second period after turning the field around on a 64-yard run.
The Rebels (5-6) then drove 63 yards behind senior Jake Weaver before he was halted for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the 2-yard line.
“That was big for us,” said Columbia Central first-year head coach Howard Stone. “We were able to stop the big guy, and it gave us a chance to have a two- touchdown cushion at the half.”
Martin’s 43-yard run in the third period set-up his third TD, which South answered with a 60-yard march featuring a 39-yard pass from Evan Headrick to Christian Comsa. Weaver scored from the 5 with 8:45 left in the third period.
Martin’s 4-yard scoring run pushed the score to 28-6. The Rebels scored with 1:01 left in the game when Charlie Moore completed six straight passes, setting up a 2-yard plunge by Weaver for the score. Moore passed to Comsa for the 2-point conversion.
“Columbia has a good football team. They have a lot of good athletes,” Haynie said. “But I’m proud of our players. They battled hard.”