Tyner went down.
The Blue Tornado, shaking off two losses to open the season, routed the visiting Rams, 43-14, Friday night at Spears Stadium behind Chad Toliver’s 136 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
“Take your hats off to them,” Rams coach Wayne Turner said of the Blue Tornado. “They came out and punched us in the mouth and we didn’t answer the bell in the first half.”
Toliver landed the haymakers.
The speedy running back, who has three consecutive 100-yard efforts to start the season, scored on runs of 8, 4, 42 and 1 yard. The first three touchdowns came in the first half and two in the second quarter as McCallie built a commanding 36-0 lead – an advantage that necessitated a running clock the entire second half.
“It was a pretty good night,” Toliver said, “but I couldn’t have done it without all those guys up front blocking for me. They created some big holes and I was able to hit them.”
McCallie coach Ralph Potter, whose club lost to McMinn County and Ensworth in its first two games, welcomed Toliver’s superb performance against the Rams, who have lost 24 of 28 meetings with the Blue Tornado dating to 1975.
“We had success with (Chad) early and stayed with it as long as it kept working,” Potter said.
On Friday, the Blue Tornado dominated both sides of scrimmage and had no trouble averting the team’s first 0-3 start since 1984 when Red Bank, Hixson and Bradley County turned the trick.
“I can’t talk about what might have happened,” said tenacious linebacker Andrew Busby, who was a defensive dynamo all night. “It’s just great to get this win. We came out ready. The coaches were ready and we practiced hard all week. I want us to come out and do the same thing next week against Father Ryan.”
WhileTyner (2-1) punted five times and turned the ball over on downs on their six first-half possessions, the Blue Tornado (1-2) scorched the Rams’ defense at every turn.
Toliver capped a 61-yard, seven-play drive with an 8-yard burst.
McCallie needed just three plays to cover 52 yards on its second possession, Samir Usman taking care of the final 41 for a touchdown. Barely over six minutes into the game and McCallie led 12-0.
Following Kevin Cortez’s 11-yard punt, McCallie took over at its own 40 and zipped 60 yards and Toliver scored from 4 yards out for his second touchdown. This time, Peter Phillips kicked the extra point.
Phillips came back to salvage the next drive with a 21-yard field goal, pushing the BlueTornado lead to 22-0.
After another short Tyner (2-1) punt, McCallie set up shop at its 49 and Toliver carried twice, rambled 42 yards up the middle for another score.
With the ball near midfield, Tyner, which beat Signal Mountain and Brainerd to open the season, tried to get a first down on fourth-and-16, but Busby tackled Willie Stewart for a 1-yard loss. Busby finished with 11 tackles.
“Andrew is a big part of our defense,” Potter said. “We had a senior linebacker (Mitch Dolinger) go down the week after McMinn County and he just had knee surgery and is out for the season. They would have made a really great tandem.”
After Busby stopped Stewart, McCallie quarterback Nelson Johnston hit a streaking Eric Wolf, who beat defensive back Joseph Sturkey, over the top for a 55-yard touchdown connection. Phillips’ PAT made the score 36-0 at halftime.
“McCallie’s offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage in the first half and dictated the flow of the game,” Turner said.
Showing his resourcefulness, Toliver returned a Tyner punt 42 yards to start the drive that ended with Phillips’ field goal with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
Toliver finished with 225 all-purpose yards in the convincing victory. He had 117 rushing yards in the first half when Tyner’s entire offense managed just 65.The Blue Tornado had 235 total yards at the break, including 172 on the ground.
Tyner avoided a shutout with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Running back Jerome Morgan bulled into the end zone from 4 yards out for the first score with 5:22 left in the game.
On McCallie’s third play after the ensuing kickoff, Tyner’s Willie Stewart scooped up a fumble and raced 30 yards for the score with 2:28 remaining.
Obviously, it wasn’t enough.
“McCallie always has a good team with Ralph coaching over there,” Turner said. “Those kids played two tough teams, so the record is no indication of how good they are.”
Potter was excited, in his own low-key manner, to get the season’s first win.
“I think we played better than we have been,” he said. “These kids have to know that whoever they’re playing, no matter what the situation is, they have to execute the best they can on every play. At the end of the year you count up how many you won and how many you lost.
“But you always feel better when you win.”
Tyner 0 0 0 14 – 14
McCallie 12 24 7 0 – 43
McC – Chad Toliver 8 run (kick blocked), 8:44
McC – Samir Usman 41 run (run failed), 5:57
McC – Toliver 4 run (Peter Phillips kick), 11:53
McC – FG Phillips 21, 9:10
McC – Toliver 42 run (Phillips kick), 4:15
McC – Eric Wolf 55 pass from Nelson Johnston (Phillips kick), 36.2
McC – Toliver 1 run (Phillips kick), 3:15
TYN – Jerome Morgan 4 run (Tony Walton run), 5:22
TYN – Willie Stewart 30 fumble recovery (kick failed), 2:28
First Downs 9 13
Rushes-Yds. 33-60 31-212
Passing Yds. 62 87
Com.-Att.-Int. 7-14-0 3-6-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-2
Punts.-Avg. 5-22.2 0-0
Penalties-Yds. 4-41 5-32
RUSHING— Tyner: Kalan Hardley 6-18, Joseph Sturkey 3-15, Courtney Heard 2-8, Haasan Miller 5-7, Antonio Williams 2-5, Willie Stewart 3-4, Jerome Morgan 1-4, Tony Walton 8-3, Jarrett Watson 1-3, Team-minus2; McCallie: Chad Toliver 17-136, Alex Trotter 4-50, Samir Usman 2-48, Nelson Johnston 3-10, Tyler Payne 2-9, Adrian Thomas 2-5.
PASSING— Tyner: Walton 5-8-0 27, Stewart 1-4-0 19, Miller 1-2-0 minus 3; McCallie: Johnston 3-5-0 82.
RECEIVING— Tyner: Rodney Watson 3-32, Stewart 1-19, Jarrett Watson 1-14, Courtney Heard 1-7; McCallie: Eric Wolf 1-55, Toliver 1-19, Spencer Morgan 1-13.
(E-mail Larry Flemingat email@example.com)