Kristopher Bowman’s fourth-quarter touchdown catch, and Dane Beard’s interception with 3:28 remaining in the game seemed to seal the victory for McCallie as the Blue Tornado advanced to the Division II-AAA state semifinal playoff round with a 27-14 victory over Ensworth.
McCallie has won eight straight games and improved to 10-1 on the season. The Blue Tornado enjoyed a 14-0 lead on a pair of two-yard touchdown runs. DeAngelo Hardy scored first at 1:56 of the opening quarter, and Stone Roebuck reached the end zone at the 6:53 mark of the second quarter.
The Tigers avoided a first-half shutout when Isaiah Horton hauled in a tipped pass in the end zone to trim the score to 14-7 a few seconds before halftime.
B.J. Harris capped an eight-play McCallie drive with a three-yard touchdown run, but the kick attempt failed, and the Blue Tornado held a 20-7 lead at 5:46 of the third quarter. Ensworth’s Keshawn Lawrence returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a score, allowing the Tigers to creep to within 20-14.
Antto Toivio picked off an Ensworth pass on the last play of the third quarter, and the teams traded punches into the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Hardy’s 38-yard scoring toss to Bowman.
McCallie’s defense continued its stellar play on the season, limiting the Tigers to 111 total yards after shutting them out in the regular-season matchup. Roebuck also had an interception, and Kameron Watson knocked the ball loose from Lawrence at the goal line for what would have been a sure Ensworth touchdown.
Hardy was the workhorse for the offense, carrying the ball 31 times for 156 yards. Roebuck added 90 yards on the ground, and the team totaled 321 for the game.
The Blue Tornado will travel to Memphis University School Friday for a state semifinal game.