They carried an undefeated mark last Friday into the third round of the 1A playoffs, but Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy had too many mistakes and it cost them. Robbinsville dealt the Gryphons a 32-13 loss in the third round of the 1A playoffs.
Thomas Jefferson had five turnovers as two interceptions were returned inside the Gryphon 10-yard line. A fumble was also recovered at the 11 early in the game. Robbinsville put all three of those turnovers into the end zone. That's how Friday's game ended up a three touchdown difference.
TJCA played well defensively, especially in the first half, despite a rainy night on a rather mild November playoff game.
It's sad that the season comes to an end, especially an undefeated mark without a state title. The senior class went 43-9 over the last four seasons. For Nomi McMullens, (averaged 250 yards per game this season in rushing and passing), seven other seniors ended high school gridiron careers as well. McMullens has numerous touchdown records at TJCA and finishes third all-time in touchdowns accounted for in the state.
The bright news is that they have a possible 30-plus that could return for next season.
Football Accolades: Here are the standouts for football in Rutherford County for 2018.
All-Rutherford Weekly standouts:
R-S Central: CJ Hannon, Clinton Deyton, Chase McSwain, Bryson Jarrell and Trey Greene.
Chase: Kayshawn Woods, Garrett Hampton, Leshan Lipscomb, Tylon Greene, Ty'lek Surratt, Kiylan Miller and Aaron Melvin.
East Rutherford: Demetrius Mauney, Calvin Jones, Jayden Waddell, Cole Larsen, Jordan Harris, Cameron Simmons, Joey Detteta, Julian Whiteside, Matthew Hunt, Issac Greene and Austin Roderick.
Thomas Jefferson: Nomi McMullens, Cody Maxwell, Ethan Jackson, Chance Sutton, Isaiah McMullens, Dakota Twitty, Shemar Petty, Sam Caffell, Issac Roberson, Tysun Beaver and Isaiah Foster.
Basketball is underway.
Southwestern 2A Girls basketball Preview
6)Chase- Arionna Liberati paces the Lady Trojans this season with Brittany Bomer as an inside threat. They scored better a year ago, but defensively stopping teams has been a problem. Finishing fifth in the league is very possible, but blocking out, getting easy baskets and not getting into foul trouble should all factor in the on-court success.
5) South Point- They only have inside presence Asheton Queen who scores in double digits most night, but not much else. Rebounding, guard play and a team that is really just six deep doesn't help.
4) East Gaston- AJ Price, who averaged 14 points per game last season, but has not much behind her. Even though they do have a number of players back as well as top rebounder Saylom Usher, they have to prove that they can score consistently.
3) Shelby- They have three key components back again. L'Mia Littlejohn leads them, but the question remains to be seen if they can score enough. They have the deepest roster, but not as much varsity experience. If they can figure some things out quickly, they have just as much chance to win the conference as anyone.
2)R-S Central- It's the double Jada show in Hilltopper Country this season. Electrifying Jada Logan leads the team in her senior year and Jada Wilkins is stepping up to help out. They also have three-point shooters in Maddie Gillie and Kaitlyn Brock back this season. Nikya Lynch and Mollie Martin should continue to develop in the post after improving seasons a year ago. Central could win the league, but should finish no worse than third.
1) East Rutherford- They can go nine deep and have four new faces that make an immediate impact. League MVP of a year ago, Ohsa Makerson (20ppg last year) is back for her senior year to run the point. Brooklyn Henderson, Amarie Price and Devoria Boykins will also contribute as key returnees to the Lady Cavs success.