KNOXVILLE — Sullivan South’s football team couldn’t manage to pull off an upset for the ages, but the Rebels made Fulton survive four quarters of hard-nosed football on Friday night.
South trailed 21-19 in the fourth quarter before Fulton, the defending TSSAA Class 4A champion, added some window dressing late to secure a 41-19 victory in the second round of the state playoffs.
The Falcons had won every game this season by the mercy rule before South rolled into Fulton Stadium and found a way to hang with the state’s top-ranked team. The Rebels scored first and led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter against Fulton, which outscored its opponents 220-7 this season prior to Friday’s game.
Dylan Wieger was a one-man wrecking crew for South, running for 118 yards on 34 carries with three touchdowns and throwing for 172 yards. Wieger completed 13 of 28 pass attempts against the Falcons, who picked him off one time.
South had the ball down by two points with 5:58 remaining in the contest, but Fulton forced the Rebels to punt. The very next play, Falcons quarterback Penny Smith hit Xavier Hawkins with a short pass that Hawkins took 67 yards for a touchdown, essentially putting the game out of reach.
Smith completed 10 of 14 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Fulton advanced to face Greeneville next week in the state quarterfinals.For an expanded version of this article, please see Saturday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.