If you wanted to see a lot of offense in a high school football game, then you should have been at Soddy Daisy's Robert Talaska Field Friday night.
Defense was all but non-existent on either side as the host Trojans took advantage of five touchdown passes from southpaw senior quarterback Hunter Maynor to outlast the Hixson Wildcats, 49-36.
The last two minutes of the second quarter and the first minute of the third produced six TDs between the two teams, but the Trojans did a better job of containing Hixson's ball-control offense and they headed home with the non-district win.
"It's nice to start off the season with a win, but I was worried that we wouldn't be able to stop them. We never really did, but we were able to contain them more in the second half and that was a big key," said Soddy Daisy coach Justin Barnes after the see-saw contest finally ended.
"We made a few adjustments at the half and I'm proud of the way our kids responded. Being able to contain them a little bit helped, but we had a couple of big stops along the way that were huge," he added.
James Cole raced 68 yards up the middle on the third play of the game and Austin Slifko's pass from Preston Wilkey gave Hixson an 8-0 lead with less than two minutes elapsed.
Soddy Daisy came right back to score on a 24-yard pass from Maynor to Blake Smith at the 9:01 mark and the track meet in football uniforms was on.
The Trojans took their first lead when Maynor hooked up with Tre Carter on a little swing pass to the left, but the speedy junior outran everyone for the 84-yard TD with 8:57 to play in the second quarter.
The lead was 13-8 at that point for the Trojans and that's the way it stayed until the final two minutes.
Wilkey scored on a keeper from the 5 at the 2:02 mark before Maynor hooked up with Carter on a 35-yard TD with just over 51 seconds left before intermission.
Wilkey scored again on a 56-yard run on the first play following a good kickoff return by Cole. Justin Nicholson's run gave Hixson a 22-19 lead with just over 28 seconds remaining, but that was more than enough time for Maynor as he connected with Smith from seven yards out for his fourth TD pass of the half as Soddy Daisy had the upper hand at 25-22 midway through.
The Trojans extended their lead to 33-22 on the second play of the second half when Maynor found Smith on a 40-yard pass play and Soddy Daisy never trailed again.
Maynor finished the game with 276 passing yards on 14 completions in 19 attempts.
Hixson coach Dan Duff liked the way his team moved the ball on the ground as the Wildcats finished with 347 yards total offense, all on the ground.
"I thought we moved the ball well all night, but we have some things on defense we have to fix. We have at least eight new starters on defense and we just need to grow up there, but I still think we have a fine football team," he expressed after a midfield prayer involving both teams.
"I'm just so proud that we didn't quit, but we have to score when we get the ball in the red zone and we need to limit our penalties. It's hard to recover from those on a high-school level, but we'll go back to work on Monday and see what we can do to get better," he added.
Hixson got inside the 10 late in the third quarter, but the Wildcats were turned away when a lateral on fourth-and-goal from the 6 lost five yards.
While Maynor was the offensive spark for Soddy Daisy in the first half with 196 passing yards on eight completions, Christian Bell was the workhorse in the final two stanzas as he picked up 109 yards on the ground and finished with 143 yards on 16 carries.
With Cole piling up 94 yards on eight carries and Wilkey adding 85 more on 10 trips, Hixson had 260 yards rushing in the second half, but they were limited to just 87 in the final two quarters.
Cole finished the evening with 121 yards on 13 carries while Wilkey also topped the century mark with 103 yards on 17 attempts.
Carter and Smith both had four catches for the Trojans with Carter's 144 yards leading the way. Smith had 75 on his four grabs.
Hixson will be at home next Friday to host South Pittsburg while Soddy Daisy travels to Red Bank to face the much-improved Lions.
HIXSON 8 14 6 8 -- 36
SODDY DAISY 6 19 16 8 -- 49
HIX -- James Cole 68 run (Austin Slifko pass from Preston Wilkey), 10:09 left in first;
SD -- Blake Smith 24 pass from Hunter Maynor (kick failed), 9:01 left in first;
SD -- Tre Carter 84 pass from Maynor (Carter kick), 8:57 left in second;
HIX-- Wilkey 5 run (pass failed), 2:02 left in second;
SD -- Carter 35 pass from Maynor (kick failed), 0:51.3 left in second;
HIX -- Wilkey 56 run (Justin Nicholson run), 0:39.4 left in second;
SD -- Smith 7 pass from Maynor (pass failed), 0:00 left in second;
SD -- Smith 40 pass from Maynor (Christian Bell run), 11:09 left in third;
HIX -- Wilkey 2 run (run failed), 10:42 left in third;\
SD -- Bell 9 run (Bell pass from Maynor), 6:48 left in third;
SD -- Bell 12 run (Smith pass from Maynor), 9:11 left in fourth;
HIX -- Myles Ratliff 2 run (Tarik Twitty-Humphrey run), 2:36 left in fourth.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)