Lions and cheerleaders celebrate the victory.
Cannon County captured the District 8-AA championship Thursday with a 35-7 trashing of the Upperman Bees at Fred Schwarz Field. The Lions (6-4, 4-1), who have already clinched their first playoff berth since 1995, also secured their second winning season since 1978.
Coming off a bye week, Cannon County hosted the Bees in a game that would determine the district championship. The Lion's offense got off to a slow start, but the defense, which created five turnovers, inspired the team as they ran off 35 straight points in their 35-7 victory over Upperman, in what many will refer to as the "Cannon County Mud Bowl."
The win, along with a loss by DeKalb County, gave the Lions their first district title since 1978.
The Lion defense dominated the game from the very beginning, recovering two fumbles on Upperman's first two possessions. Cannon was unable to capitalize on the two turnovers, but finally got untracked with 10:13 left in the first quarter when Andrew Woodin connected on a 25-yard pass-play to Lee Cooper, putting the ball at the Upperman 9 yard line.
Andrew Woodin finished the drive with a 9-yard run around left end, and with the Cesar Wilson extra point, Cannon took a 7-0 lead.
The Lion defense stopped the Bees on their next possession. With the ball on the Upperman 30 yard line, Andrew Woodin blocked the punt, giving Cannon possession at the Bee's 44 yard line. Running out of a wildcat formation, Andrew Woodin ran for 7 yards. On the next play, Andrew Woodin handed the ball off to Daniel Woodin who then ripped of a 30-yard run to the Bee's 1 yard line.
Andrew Woodin finished the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. The kick failed and at the 7:07 mark, Cannon took a 13-0 lead.
Upperman's next possession ended with a Daniel Woodin interception at the Cannon 37 yard line. The Lions' drive ended with an Andrew Woodin to Cooper 37-yard TD pass. The Lions ran a tackle-eligible play, catching the Bees off guard, completing an Andrew Woodin to Emby Mills pass for the two-point conversion, giving the Lions a 21-0 lead.
Cannon's defense held Upperman to minus 1-yard on their next possession. With :41 left in the half, Andrew Woodin connected on a 45-yard TD pass to Cooper, giving the Lions a 27-0 half time lead.
The second half was a continuation of the outstanding defensive play by the Lions' Bryant "Bubba" Hare, Patrick Gerdes, Tyler Jacobs, Thomas Stone, Gabriel Walkup, Emby Mills, Andrew Woodin, Daniel Woodin, and Cooper. The Lions scored their final touchdown on a Cooper to Andrew Woodin 66-yard touchdown pass, making the score 35-0 as the third quarter came to an end.
Upperman finally got on the scoreboard with 3:37 left in the game making the final score 35-7.
By winning five out of their last six games, the Lions have improved to 6-4, and a District 8-AA leading 4-1 record.
The Lions will learn Saturday morning who and where they will play in the first round of the playoffs. Brackets for the TSSAA playoffs will be announced during a radio show on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone and also on the TSSAA's web site (http://www.tssaa.org).
With the win over Upperman, odds favor Cannon County hosting a first-round playoff game.
The Lions Boosters Club is planning a pep rally at the Cannon County Courthouse Public Square during the time of the bracket announcement broadcast.