MORRISTOWN — Morristown East running back Matt Thompson rushed for 77 yards and three second-half touchdowns to lift the Hurricanes to a 27-17 win over Dobyns-Bennett in the first round of the TSSAA 6A playoffs at Burke-Toney Stadium.
Thompson shocked the Tribe with his 31-yard touchdown run up the middle that gave the Hurricanes’ their first lead with 35.5 seconds remaining in the game.
D-B quarterback Josh Holt, who passed for 146 yards and rushed for 49, threw two interceptions for the Tribe (6-5). Neither turnover led directly to scores, but the squandered possessions proved costly in the long run.
The worst D-B miscue of the game turned the tide irrevocably in East’s favor early in the fourth quarter. An errant long snap over the head of punter Landon Salyers was compounded by the kicker being flagged for intentional grounding.
The Hurricanes took over on the D-B 16. Three snaps later, Thompson crashed across for his second 1-yard scoring run of the game, bringing the home team within a field goal of the Tribe.
Seth English ended D-B’s final possession of the game by returning a Skylar East fumble 25 yards to score with no time left on the clock.
East, Holt’s backup at quarterback, threw for 76 of the Indians’ 219 passing yards.
Running back Zach Casey led the Tribe with 76 yards rushing, including an 11-yard TD run to initiate scoring in the first quarter and a 3-yard scoring crash with 6:31 left in the second period.
Salyers hit a 28-yard field goal to put the Tribe up 17-0 at the half. He had a point-after kick attempt blocked by East defensive back Jacob Samsel.
Things went the Indians’ way in the first half, starting with a Caleb Cook first-quarter interception that segued into D-B’s first scoring drive of the night.
Wearing a No. 88 jersey instead of his normal 75, the Tribe’s Nick Sensabaugh had a great first half, pressuring Hurricanes quarterback Logan Wallace on defense while lining up as a tight end on offense. His 28-yard reception off a Holt throw set up Casey’s second-quarter score.
At halftime, Morristown East (10-1) adjusted its attitude.
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