Photo by Elmer Smith
Grainger Today Correspondent
RUTLEDGE – Jacob Bunch has earned Grizzly football season records in rushing, number of touchdowns scored and the total number of points scored in a season.
Bunch has been a catalyst in the success of the Grainger High School football team’s regular season success and the advancement to the state football play-offs for the past two years.
Although Bunch had an outstanding season last year, his first year of competitive football, after forgoing football during the eighth, ninth and 10th grades, the success for Bunch and the Grizzly football team reached its apex during the 2017 season.
This season was a phenomenal one for Bunch, who racked up 322 yards in the season opener at Pigeon Forge. He continued to put up big numbers throughout the season, which ended with a 222-yard performance against Anderson County, the number two team in the state, in the 4-A football playoffs.
For the 2017 season, Bunch rushed the ball for a total of 1,781 yards, scored 24 rushing touchdowns and added 12 two-point conversions.
Those numbers could have been even more mind boggling except that in a number of the Grizzlies’ games Bunch played no more than a half, and on one occasion did not play much more than the first quarter.
Although he was a force on the ground, he also excelled as a pass receiver. He had nine catches for 220 yards and three touchdowns. As a passer, he completed all five of the passes he threw for 80 passing yards and passed for two touchdowns. With a two-point safety from his defensive play, Bunch personally accounted for 188 total points, as well as completing the two touchdown passes. In addition to the safety on defense, Bunch recorded 20 tackles, five of them for lost yardage, five pass break ups and one interception. “I just worked out during the off-season and was prepared for the season,” said Bunch. “The linemen got it done for me this year. All five of them plus Chase (Muncy). Zac (Courter) did a good job of getting the ball to me, and I just did my thing when I got out there.”
“Jacob is just an amazing player,” said head coach Chad Tate. “He’s one of the best players to ever play football at Grainger or Rutledge High Schools. His numbers on the field speak to that. He now holds the season rushing record, the number of touchdowns scored and the total number of points scored in a season. You just don’t get guys like that very often in the coaching ranks.”