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Blances run Webb back to title game; CAK out
Spartans rally from 10-0 deficit to edge ECS in semifinals

A year ago Webb School of Knoxville defeated Evangelical Christian School 42-28 in the state semifinals for a bid at a Division 11-A state championship game.

The two teams met again with the same stakes Friday Nov. 19, only this time Webb had to sneak out of Faust Field with a nail-biting 28-23 victory over the Eagles to punch its ticket to Cookeville.

For most of the night, though, it was an uphill battle for the Spartans (12-0).

“This was by far our toughest game of the year. We had to come back to win it, actually,” said sophomore Aaron Blance, referencing the early 10-0 advantage ECS took on a 37-yard field goal and touchdown run.

“We were getting stuffed at the line, so we just needed to make a big play and get some momentum going,” he added.

That is exactly what Blance did on a 39-yard punt return, which set up Bryan Berube's goal-line sprint from 8 yards out.

The ensuing possession was similar after Chase Carter's interception gave Webb a short field to work with. Just two plays later, Blance took it to the end zone and put the Spartans on top 14-10.

After halftime, the Eagles clamped down on Aaron Blance and forced older brother, Caleb, to produce on offense after being held to 41 yards in the first two quarters.

However, for Eagles fans, Caleb's response was not soon to be forgotten.

The junior tailback sprinted down the middle of the field to put Webb up by 11. “On the sideline after that one, we thought if our defense can hold we're in good shape,” Caleb said. “They just kept fighting.”

ECS quarterback Brent Rooker found a seam for a 5-yard touchdown run capping a drive spanning 65 yards. The 2-point conversion failed.

“We knew after that they weren't going to give up. They responded to us and we had to do the same, so I guess it was in my hands,” said Caleb, who re-extended the Spartans’ lead on a 71-yard sprint for the pylon. “You can't pull off that run without a great push from the line, and that play we got it."

With Webb up 28-16 and only 4:10 remaining, ECS didn’t roll over. The Eagles responded with a drive capped off by Jamison's second touchdown of the night.

Jack Grayson managed to complete task one on Blance's check list — recover the onside kick — but the Webb offense could not manage to find a first down when they most needed it.

The Eagles had 37 seconds to drive the length of the field, but the ECS drive died near midfield.

Webb will face unbeaten St. George’s (13-0) in the state title game at Tennessee Tech starting at 4:30 p.m. EST,/3:30 CST, Thursday, Dec. 2.

Senior defensive back/wide receiver Brennan Liu said St. George's “is one of the best teams, no doubt about it. We just have to keep doing what we do best.

“We need to pay extra attention on their film to shut down such a powerful offense,” he added.


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