Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County Junior High quarterback Hayden Wix eludes Satterfield Middle’s Amante Ellis.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County Junior High quarterback Hayden Wix eludes Satterfield Middle’s Amante Ellis.

The Macon County Junior High football team scored 18 unanswered points against Satterfield Middle School on Aug. 21.

However, the Tigers weren't able to hold on as the game's only successful two-point conversion was the difference in the Yellow Jackets' 20-18 victory at John Kerr Field.

"I feel like we gave one away," Macon County first-year head coach Jake Johnson said. "No offense to Trousdale County. They're a good football team.

"Being competitive is not enough. It hurts knowing we were right there, and silly mistakes beat you."

Johnson resigned as the team's head coach two days later to accept a position as the head coach at Clay County High School.

Special teams proved costly for the Tigers in Johnson's final game at the helm. The visitors played from behind until the third quarter.

Satterfield Middle's Brian Banks returned the game's opening kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown.

After Devin Amalfitano, Mason Swindle and Hayden Wix combined to tackle quarterback Kyle Shockley short of the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt, the ensuing kickoff was mishandled by Macon County. Satterfield Middle's Kyle Blair recovered the loose football, but Macon County eventually forced a turnover on downs.

On the final play of the opening quarter, Shockley threw deep to a wide-open Cole Gregory for a 56-yard gain, leading to Shockley's 1-yard touchdown sneak five plays later.

Taylor Hobbs tackled Gregory short of the end zone on the conversion attempt, keeping the score at 12-0.

"We gave them 12 points," Johnson said. "It was things we've repped a million times. Fair catch it (the kickoff). Don't run with it. It's silly things that we've repped a million times."

Late in the first half, Tiger running back Nate Green broke free around the right end and sped 67 yards to the end zone, but Garon Cline was tackled by Shockley on the unsuccessful conversion attempt.

"That was everything," Johnson said of the impact of the second-quarter touchdown. "We were down two scores. We had to have something."

Then, on the sixth play from scrimmage in the second half, Macon County quarterback Hayden Wix threw a pass down the middle of the field, and Cline made a leaping catch and then broke a tackle at the 10 yard line to complete the 41-yard touchdown.

A late hit on Wix moved the football half the distance to the goalline on the conversion attempt, giving the Tigers the ball between the 1 and 2 yard line. However, Blair and Gregory tackled Green short of the goalline on the conversion attempt, keeping the contest tied at 12.

Cline intercepted a deep pass along the home sideline on the Yellow Jackets' first possession of the second half, and then, Macon County (1-1) forced a turnover on downs to start the fourth quarter.

Cline broke free four plays later for a 62-yard touchdown dash, but fullback J.B. Carter couldn't reach the end zone on the conversion run.

"He's a playmaker," Johnson said of Cline. "I have some talented skill guys on offense. Garon always seems to be at the right place at the right time. It's Wix too with the deep ball he threw and the scrambles (running the football out of the pocket). Green ran the ball well too.

"Garon has definitely showed up the last two weeks."

It took just five plays for Satterfield Middle to cover 52 yards to the end zone on the ensuing possession. Banks carried the football three times for 46 yards, with his 23-yard run setting up Shockley's 1-yard sneak into the end zone with 3:39 remaining.

Gregory ran around the left end and into the end zone on the conversion run, which proved to be the difference in the game.

On the Tigers' final possession, Wix picked up a first down by scrambling for 8 yards on a third-and-7 play, moving the ball into Yellow Jacket territory. However, four plays later, Green was tackled for a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-3, turning the football over on downs with 1:16 remaining.

Satterfield Middle (1-1) ran out the clock from that point.

"We finally faced some real adversity," Johnson said. "Sometimes, those (outcomes) don't go your way.

"I feel like we fought the whole game. That's a testament to our kids and our character."

Macon County - which will be led by head coach Jacob Coffee (who was in his first season as an assistant coach for the Tigers) - travels to Baxter on Thursday to face Upperman Middle School.