By David Hunter
The Cannon County High School football team had an impressive preseason, including the first team defense not giving up a point. However, the Lions dealt with key injuries, and a team wanting to break a long losing streak as they fell to Community 53-14 on Aug. 21 at the Community High School to open the 2015 season.
The Lions started off strong on the very first offensive possession of the game as they drove 50 yards in 15 plays and eaten 5:51 off the clock when senior quarterback Brady Page found senior wide receiver Jeremy Litchford for a five-yard touchdown pass, and senior female placekicker Livia Walker added the extra point to put the Lions ahead 7-0 with 6:09 left in the opening quarter of the season.
The CCHS defense also started the season strong as they made Vikings offense turn it over on downs, which included a tackle for loss by senior Courtland Ryan.
On the next Lions offensive possession, they were on their way to making it 14-0 against a Vikings team, who coming in had lost 12 games in a row. However, the Lions lost the ball at the Community 2, and the Vikings took control of the game.
The Vikings scored two touchdowns in a row to end the first half, including a 35-yard run by Jacob Kupczyk, and on the next play after Lions turnover on downs, Darian Pride lined up in the Wildcat formation, and he raced 70 yards with 48 seconds left in the first half to put them ahead 18-7 at the half.
Pride, who according to school officials and the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, is being considered by several Division I schools, including Army, Navy and Georgia Tech. He is considered one of the school's best two-sport athletes.
Just like the first half, the Lions opened up its first offensive possession in the second half with a touchdown. CCHS got a break when the Vikings tried a fake punt deep in its territory, and they got called for a penalty after the misfire on the attempt, which gave the Lions the ball at the Community 1.
On the next play, senior running back Austin Brock punched it in from the one with 10:08 left in the third quarter as the Lions cut the advantage to 18-14 after an extra point by Walker. CCHS did not score during the rest of the game.
However, the Lions tried an on-side kick, but it went out of bounds, and they were called for a penalty due to touching it out of bounds. The Vikings got the ball at the CCHS 45, and on the first play Pride took a sweep to the end zone with 9:53 left in the third to give them a 25-14 advantage.
After a Lions turnover, the Vikings scored another touchdown, and it came at a cost for the CCHS defense as Brock went out with an injury trying to make a tackle on the sideline during the drive with 6:43 left in the third. He did not return, and a further update on it along with several other CCHS players who were injured during the loss will come later this week.
The Vikings added four more touchdowns, including an interception return for one during the rest of the game to finish off the 53-14 victory.
With the win, the Vikings ended an overall 12-game losing streak, which included a winless 2014 season. The program's last win came on Oct. 18, 2013 against Moore County.
CCHS head coach T. J. Daniels had no comment after the loss on Aug. 21.
The Lions open up the home portion of the 2015 schedule against Jackson County on Friday night at 7 p.m. as the team will be wearing throwback jerseys, which covers the late sixties to the 1990s.