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East ousted, TJCA to 2nd round

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Thomas Jefferson Football

The Gryphons will host Elkin (6-6) in the second round of the 1A playoffs after Thomas Jefferson received a first round bye. Elkin won 50-7 last week over Hayesville.

Thomas Jefferson should be healthy this weekend as they will have to keep tabs on Beau Burgess (3 touchdown passes in first half last week) and Tevin Harris.

Thomas Jefferson should have the speed, leadership and defense in this one. Besides, Elkin allows 35 points per game despite being on a four-game win streak.

Between Bill Lay and Nomi McMullens, they have over 2100 yards rushing this season. McMullens has also thrown for over 1300 more. Between Ethan Jackson (LB), Josh Mellon (DL), Caleb Camp (DL) Nathaniel Qualls (DL) and John Camp (DL) have over 47 tackles for loss this season. A good push up front on both sides of the ball has been solid for most of the season.

East Rutherford Football

Unfortunately, East Rutherford's football team ended the season with a 30-7 loss at home to East Montgomery in the first round of the playoffs. East Montgomery's line play was just too much for the Cavs to overcome. East Rutherford couldn't get anything going on the ground, but East Montgomery's Courtney McKinney did. McKinney ran 26 times for 276 yards. East Rutherford's Tyemond Twitty was solid on special teams with a couple of key tackles and downing two punts at the East Montgomery one. Other than for the first punt of the game, Austin Roderick did a great job of booting the ball.

Cade Hamilton had over 10 tackles again, Jordan Harris scored the only touchdown and was really the only offense the Cavaliers could muster as they had four turnovers in the game.

Dale Jr. Memory

In a 6-part series, I started this season to remember Dale Earnhardt Jr. in this being his final year on the Cup circuit, we have now reached #2. Despite this being possibly the darkest day in NASCAR history, this memory grew his popularity and helped the sport move on.

#2: The Death of the Intimidator! All was lined up for Michael Waltrip to win his first ever Cup race in Feb. of 2001 when the Daytona 500 rolled around. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, Waltrip went onto win and Dale Earnhardt's life came to an end while holding back late challenges for the third spot in a crash on the final lap.

The following week, Jr. rose to the podium at Rockingham and talked about missing his dad and wasn't going to let selfish pity keep him from moving on. The comment sounded a lot like what his dad would say in that moment. Junior raced for his father's approval and he had finally earned it with two Cup wins before his dad's abrupt passing. At just 26, Junior became a household name and left to carry on the Earnhardt legacy.

Junior crashed on the first lap of the race in Rockingham, but teammate Steve Park won the race in honor of Dale Earnhardt Sr. And so a number of safety changes began from seats, to seat belts, the Hans device and softer walls etc. Sunday is Junior's final ride in Homestead.

NASCAR

As for this past Sunday, what else would you have expected in NASCAR country. Chase Elliott got revenge on Denny Hamlin just two weeks after wrecking away Elliott's chance for a win at Martinsville.

Justice has been served. I wouldn't be surprised if NASCAR stepped in and did something to Elliott, but Elliott didn't drive Hamlin through the wall, he just ran Hamlin into it down the straightaway. It was the right way to do suttle revenge. It ended the title hopes for Hamlin who blew a tire a few laps later.

Homestead

Now we are in the final four with Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. going for a title in the final race of the season. All four drivers run well here, but I think Truex will have the car to beat. I can't promise that one of the other three won't wreck him though. Truex deserves the title on Sunday considering his body of work this season. The other three already have one Cup title apiece.

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