LYNCHBURG, Tenn – Eagleville football coach Steve Carson told kicker Will Vermillion that his foot would win a game for the team this season. Friday night against Moore County, the preseason prediction came true and in the process likely ended the postseason hopes for the Raiders.
In Lynchburg, Vermillion made a 35-yard field goal with 17 seconds to play for the Eagles to preserve a 3-0 win over the Raiders.
“I’ve been telling Will since fall camp, ‘Will, your foot is going to win a game for us,’” Carson said. “He’s been kicking well in practice. … He drilled it.”
It actually took Vermillion two tries to hit the game winner. Eagleville lined up to kick a 39-yard field goal initially, but Vermillion’s kick fell short.
A penalty on the Raiders, however, gave Eagleville new life as Vermillion was able to make his second attempt. According to Moore County head coach Jeremy Austin, his team was whistled for an “aiding a defensive lineman” penalty.
It eventually cost the hosts the contest, which after a defensive battle for most of the game appeared to be heading to overtime after Vermillion missed the first field goal attempt.
“That’s the second time we’ve had something like that happen against Eagleville,” said Austin. “To have the highest of high and the lowest of lows in all of about 5 seconds is hard to watch on your kids’ faces.”
After a 2-0 start, Moore County (4-6 overall, 2-4 District 9-A) dropped six of its last eight contests. Friday’s loss came in Week 9 and with a bye in Week 10 and a very slim chance at making the Class A playoffs, the Raiders are still practicing and still hoping.
If the playoffs began this week, Moore County would be the 24th and final team in. But with many games to be played this Friday night, the Raiders’ fate is simply out of their own hands.
“We really need South Fulton to lose to give us any chance,” said Austin. “The hardest thing about (the bye) in Week 10 is sitting home with a 50/50 shot at the playoffs and knowing that your fate lies in that one game and then some other factors.
“If there’s a tiebreaker, it could come down to the flip of a coin.”
The win improved Eagleville to 5-4 on the season (2-3 District 9-A) and probably clinched a playoff berth for the Eagles.
Moore County meanwhile has continued to practice with the outside chance at making it to the playoffs. Austin said it certainly wasn’t just Vermillion’s field goal that has put the Raiders in this situation.
“We just needed to play more consistent from Week 0 to Week 9,” he said. “As a coaching staff and as a team, we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities to score and we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities to stop our opponents from scoring.
“There certainly wasn’t a single turning point in the season.”
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor & Publisher, with additional information from The Daily News Journal