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Nowhere to Run

Coppenger carries the day as Mountaineers remain in playoff chase

Heritage’s Landon Harrell and Jacob Coppenger (79) give chase during the jamboree quarter with Greenback. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

For the second consecutive year, the Heritage/West clash went down to the last play, with no time on the clock.

Jacob Coppenger

Jacob Coppenger

Thanks in no small part to Jacob Coppenger, the Barley’s/Blount Press Row Player of the Week, this time it was the Mountaineers who stormed the field in celebration.

A West receiver was ruled out of bounds on a potential tying score on an untimed down, and Heritage remained in the postseason chase with a 17-10 victory at Jack Renfro Stadium.

The Mountaineers (4-4, 2-2 Region 2-5A) moved into the league’s fourth and final playoff spot with the win, one better than the Rebels (4-4, 2-2), both with one region game remaining.

Heritage hosts Halls in the regular season finale in two weeks with West closing against region champion Gibbs. A Mountaineer win or a West loss on the final Friday secures for Heritage a spot in the Class 5A playoffs.

At this point last season, with Heritage and West locked in a battle for the region crown in Knoxville, the Rebels held on for a 21-20 win when a Mountaineer 2-point conversion try with no time on the clock proved unsuccessful.

This time the Heritage defense got the last stop, but Coppenger’s play throughout was the difference.

The Mountaineers held the Rebels to 55 yards rushing in the contest, West limited to a one-dimensional air assault. Coppenger, a junior nose tackle, gummed up the works for the Rebel running game with six solo tackles and an exhaustive 22 assists. Coppenger’s evening included two tackles for loss.

For a nose guard in a three-man front, that’s a big, big night.

Running back Landon Harrell accounted for both Heritage touchdowns, the first on a 21-yard toss from Cameron Carter, the second from backup D.J. Cooper of 17 yards.

Place-kicker Morgan Buckley tacked on a first-half, 21-yard field goal.

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