For the first time in 12 years the Hayesville Yellow Jacket varsity football team has seven victories. The latest win came Friday, Nov. 1 in Rosman against the Tigers. Hayesville scored early and often on their way to a dominating 35-10 victory.
It didn’t take long for the Jackets to flex their muscles and with 10:32 on the clock in the opening quarter, junior running back Blake McClure crossed the goal line for a touchdown. Kicker Kylan Bunch’s PAT was straight and true to put Hayesville up 7-0. Freshman Kyle Lunsford was next to put numbers on the board with a rushing touchdown run at the 4:20 mark in the quarter. Bunch came on to extend the Jacket’s lead to 14-0, a score that held through the remaining time in the first quarter.
A swap of possessions dominated the majority second quarter and it seemed neither team would be able to put together a scoring drive. That changed with just 55 seconds left in the half when Hayesville junior Tyler Anderson caught a pass from quarterback Hayden McClure for a 36-yard touchdown. Bunch’s PAT gave the Jackets a 21-0 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
Temperatures continued to drop as play resumed in the third quarter. Rosman finally got on the board with 4:23 left in the quarter with a field goal. Hayesville answered in a big way as Lunsford found the end zone for the second time with 2:19 on the clock. Bunch’s foot was again successful to make Hayesville’s lead 28-3. With 1:25 left in the quarter, the Yellow Jacket defense got in on the scoring action. Senior Lane Sisum intercepted a Tiger pass and returned it for a touchdown. With the PAT, Hayesville’s lead grew to 35-3 as the quarter ended.
In the fourth, Rosman was able to score a “feel good” touchdown with 1:03 to play. The kicker did his part to make the score 35-10 which was the final.
The win will most likely give Hayesville a home playoff game once the post season starts.“This was a great conference road win for us,” said Hayesville head coach Chad McClure. “I was proud of the effort and thought defensively we played solid most of the night.” McClure was also pleased with his offense. “Our passing game was better and we still had a good night rushing. I’m extremely proud of our players and how hard they have worked to get to this point.”
There were no surprise victories in the Smoky Mountain Conference Friday as Murphy downed Cherokee 50-6, Andrews fell to Robbinsville 28-7, and Swain County took care of Gladiator Sports Academy 60-0.
The regular season comes to a close Friday, Nov. 8 as the Jackets host Swain County. A win for Hayesville would give them eight wins for the first time in more than 15 years and would secure a third place finish in the SMC.
When asked about this week’s opponent, Coach McClure said, “Swain is a really good football team. They are big, physical and have beaten some really good football teams.” As far as what it will take to get the win, the head Yellow Jacket said, “We will have to continue to execute better in all three phases of the game to beat them. I know our guys will be up for the challenge and hopefully Jacket Nation will show up and help cheer these guys on.” Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Leaders at Rosman
Hayden McClure: two touchdowns, 149 total yards.
Kyle Lunsford: two touchdowns.
Blake McClure: touchdown, 123 total yards.
Lane Sisum: touchdown, interception, seven tackles.
Seth Gillis: 11 tackles.