CANTON — In the blink of an eye, Sequoyah trailed in its homecoming matchup with Sprayberry.
However, staying true to their philosophy, the Chiefs never wavered, slowing the game to their pace and grinding out 29 unanswered points to win 29-14 and earn their third win in a row Friday night at Skip Pope Stadium.
Sprayberry’s Josh Bush opened the game with a handoff that he took straight up the middle for an 80-yard score. It was an unseemly beginning for Sequoyah (5-3, 4-2 Region 6-AAAAAA), which was up against a much larger offensive line and group of tailbacks.
But the Chiefs responded, suffocating the Yellow Jackets’ run game and sacking quarterback Kyle Brown four times (two from Avery Borne and two from Joshua Estrada).
On offense, Sequoyah let its run-based attack stew but it eventually went for 314 yards on the ground, thanks to 76- and 85-yard runs from Jaden Mitchell in the second half. Mitchell’s latter scoring run went for a touchdown, while homecoming king Riley Gutmann crowned himself with a 33-yard touchdown run to give Sequoyah the 13-6 lead it never relinquished.
All the while, the players did most of the talking on the sideline while Sequoyah coach James Teter stood calmly and confidently.
“The way they believe in each other is something I think carried on from last year’s team to this one,” Teter said.
The Chiefs are still in the playoff race with two games remaining, currently tied for fifth in the region.
“Tonight we did an awesome, awesome job of making adjustments and playing our game,” Teter said.
Joseph Silva scored the first touchdown for Sequoyah to tie the game — both teams missed their initial extra point tries — and the Chiefs took a 20-6 halftime lead thanks to Gutmann’s scamper and a goal-line dive by quarterback Colin Koprowski.
Mitchell’s scoring run game at the start of the third, and then Sprayberry surrendered a safety in the fourth quarter when an errant long snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the back of its end zone.
The Yellow Jackets moved the ball late, easing the deficit with a 25-yard score from Darnell Mundin. But they were held to just 249 yards overall, and Brown lost 46 yards on sacks despite his fleet feet.
Brown was also 10-of-23 in the air for 112 yards, with the speedy Bush as his favorite target.
Koprowski was 4-of-9 passing for just 39 yards, but added a 36-yard run to contribute to the team’s total of 353.
“We were just patient all game,” Teter said.
“Our offense really is a complement to the defense. When we have the ball, we want to churn as much clock as we can and we did that tonight.”
It appeared the Yellow Jackets had stolen momentum on a 45-yard pass from Brown to Harrison Laird that put them in the red zone down 13-6, but the Chiefs were able to force a punt.
Sequoyah also got lucky when Koprowski threw an interception to Jaden Edmunds, who fumbled the ball on the return into Sequoyah territory. The Chiefs recovered.
Sprayberry’s star tailback, Damarion Owens, was held to just 34 yards on five carries.
Bush led all receivers with 46 yards. Sequoyah’s star defensive back, Myles McGee, was active on breaking up deep passes, and he added 33 yards on three receptions.