HENDERSONVILLE - The Region 6-5A Championship resides on Shackle Island following the Bucs 14-10 win over the Gallatin Green Wave Thursday night.
With the win Beech secures the number one seed heading into the Class 5A playoffs.
Beech running back Adrian Johnson finished with a team-high 99 yards, helping boast a team total of 258 yards on the ground.
Gallatin running back Spencer Briggs rushed for a game-high 188 yards, which was aided by a 69 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Bucs tallied 11 more first downs than the Wave, and recorded 20 more plays than their counterpart.
“I thought we executed fairly well tonight,” Beech head coach Anthony Crabtree said. “They are a good defense, they are big, and physical. They started cutting us on the edge early and that is really illegal, you can’t cut the fullback like that, and that gets you out of your game plan a little bit and makes it tough. They did a good job with that and we had to find a couple of other things to move the football.”
Beech also won the turnover battle, recovering one Gallatin fumble near midfield in the third quarter after the Wave forced a Beech punt.
Trailing 3-0 following a Trace Kelley 42-yard field goal in the first quarter, Beech responded with the game’s first touchdown from four yards away.
The play was set up after Adrian Johnson ran 67-yard run, breaking three Gallatin would-be tacklers. The biggest play, however, came when Gallatin jumped offsides after getting a stop forcing Beech to kick a field goal to try and tie the game. Instead, the penalty gave Beech a fresh set of downs inside the Wave 5-yard line.
On 1st-and-goal from the four, junior Tysean Jefferson squeezed through the middle to find the end zone and the 7-3 advantage.
“Tysean ran he ball extremely well tonight, but he always does,” Crabtree said. “Like I’ve said before we just haven’t gotten him enough touches, so we wanted to do a better job of that tonight. Hopefully we can keep doing that in the future.”
Gallatin reclaimed the lead following halftime when Briggs raced 69 yards down the left sideline with just under eight minutes to play in the third quarter putting the Green Wave up 10-7.
After getting a stop on defense, the Green Wave looked like they would try and seal the win, but a fumble on the punt return at midfield gave Beech new life and a new opportunity to take control of the game.
On that drive Beech marched 48 yards on seven plays before Ja’Sean Parks jumped up-and-over the pile for the 14-10 lead with 7:16 remaining and the game-winning touchdown.
“Any win is a big win,” Crabtree said. “It doesn’t matter how it looks. 20 years from now all people are going to wonder is did you win the game. Anytime you can go and congratulate your team and come out Monday after a win you take it.”
The win means Beech will likely face Columbia in round one of the playoffs while Gallatin will likely face Summit. Both teams will be at home for round one.
“The more playoff games you have at home the better you are,” Crabtree added. “Congratulation to our guys on the great effort and finding a way to win.”
The loss for Gallatin is their first loss of the season, and the first time first year head coach Chad Watson had to address his team after defeat.
“I just told them that this game is completely my fault,” he said. “Their effort was amazing and they did everything we ask of them. We have some special kids and I have got to do a better job as a coach to put us in a better position to win.”
The 14 points surrendered to Beech ties the most points they have given up to a single opponent in any one game this season. They also gave up 14 points to Hillsboro back on September 6.
“Coming into tonight we had the number one defense in all the classifications,” Watson said. “I think if we are going to win a championship this season it will be because of the defense.”
The players were treated to an amazing atmosphere by both fan bases as an estimated 6,800 people attended Friday night’s game.
“Regular season this is probably the biggest game since 2012 when we played Station Camp on TV,” Crabtree said. “This is why high school kids play football. It is supposed to be like this. This is what you get when you have two community schools who really support each other and are playing for a region championship. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Beech remains undefeated (9-0, 4-0 Region 6-5A) while Gallatin drops to 8-1, 3-1 in Region 6-5A.
Both will play in Week 11 as Beech travels to Hillwood and Gallatin plays host to Glencliff.