Photo by Penny Shelton
Grainger Today Correspondent
RUTLEDGE– The Middle-8 Conference rival East Ridge Middle School Bears football team challenged the Pioneers Tuesday, September 12 at Rutledge Middle School.
In a game that went back and forth for the two teams, a touchdown by the Pioneer passing combination of Ian Dortch to Landon Patterson, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, sealed the victory. It was the third touchdown for the pair as Rutledge earned a 28-21 win.
Patterson scored touchdowns on receptions of 3, 21 and 35 yards and totaled 96 yards on four receptions, while Dortch added a 4-yard pass to Ty Overbay to total 100 yards on the night. In addition to his passing, Dortch added 7 rushing yards and one two-point conversion.
The fourth touchdown for the Pioneers came on a 72-yard kickoff return by Overbay, who had 57 rushing yards and the 4 receiving yards to round out a strong overall performance. Jake Hill, who had a tackle for a loss on defense, also added 38 yards to the Rutledge rushing total and successfully rammed the ball into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Defensive lineman Blake Morse got the Pioneers off to a good start on the defensive side of the ball as he had three tackles for losses on East Ridge’s first offensive series. He was joined on defense by linebacker Dortch, who added three sacks in addition to his outstanding night running the Pioneer offense. Defensive lineman Chris Payne and Dylan Fowler both racked up a pair of sacks for the Rutledge defense.
The Pioneers will play out of the conference Thursday, September 21 as they travel to Kodak to take on Northview. Rutledge will next play at Maury Tuesday, September 26 and close out the regular season Tuesday, October 3, when the team travels to White Pine to face the Cyclones. That will be followed by the Middle-8 Bowl game that will be played October 7 at Burke-Toney Stadium in Morristown, with the opponent and time to be named later.