It looked like it was over, then it didn’t. Then, it was.
Munford fell behind Hendersonville 41-20 Friday night at home in the third quarter of round one of the Class 5A state playoffs. The Cougars waged an improbable comeback and had a chance to tie the game late, but the Commandos ultimately won, 41-34, ending Munford’s season.
Munford running back Ty Stark scored on a one-yard run with 3:30 left in the game to cut the lead to 41-34 and the Cougars recovered an onside kick to make things interesting. A touchdown would tie the score.
But Munford was unable to take advantage of the break. A Jordan Bell fourth-down pass to Isaiah Cobb came up just short of a first down and Munford’s season was over.
Hendersonville recovered two onside kicks in the game, both of which led to touchdowns. A roughing the punter penalty against Munford also proved to be very damaging.
“We just killed ourselves with mistakes and penalties,” said Munford head coach Slade Calhoun. “We hadn’t roughed the punter in years … People don’t understand, that region opposite us have big, physical lines. It’s just a different world across the Tennessee River.”
Bell scored on a 46-yard TD run midway through the first quarter to cut Hendersonville’s lead to 7-6. A 10-yard run by Bell in the second quarter cut the deficit to 14-13. Stark scored just before halftime to tie the score at 20-20.
“I wish we would have played our best game, but we gave our best effort,” Calhoun said. “The breaks we’ve been getting for years in the kicking game went the other way tonight. The joke was on us tonight as far as messing up the kicking game. Normally, that’s one of our strong suits. I was disappointed in that.”
Munford has been the best team in Tipton County now for a couple years. So, how will this season be remembered?
“I don’t know. I’m sure a lot of fans will say it’s a disappointment. Once you go undefeated, I guess every season you don’t is a disappointment. You have to put it all in perspective. I bet a lot of teams would like to be 8-2, 8-3, region winner, region runner-up. We just do the best we can. I think the last two years, regular season, we’ve won 90 percent of our games. A lot of people would trade with that.”
Said Bell: “It just didn’t go our way … Hopefully, the younger class will look at it and take it as motivation and know that, if they put their mind to it, they can build some team chemistry and do something special.”