PULASKI, Tenn. – East Hamilton’s postseason run was cut short Friday as No. 1 Giles County overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Hurricanes 22-16 in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs.
East Hamilton (11-2), which was outgained 331-286, was led by sophomore running back Matt Melita’s 122 total yards – 91 rushing – and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to knock off the unbeaten Bobcats (13-0).
The Hurricanes held a 16-14 advantage in the final quarter, but Giles County’s Lanieco Walker scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for the Bobcats
Melita sprinted 57 yards for the game’s first score in the opening quarter, but kicker Cameron Carter’s point-after attempt was blocked. Giles County answered the score later in the first when quarterback Al Cobb hooked up with junior Kenton Baker to give the Bobcats a 7-6 advantage.
Carter connected on 34-yard second-quarter field goal to put the Hurricanes ahead 9-7, but the lead didn’t last long. Cobb struck again for the Bobcats, this time with his legs as the 6-2, 185-pound senior scored from five yards out to give Giles County a 14-9 halftime lead.
Cobb completed 14 of 22 passes for 133 yards and a score through the air, while also running for 108 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Melita scored his second touchdown of the night in the third quarter, hauling in a 23-yard reception on a screen pass from junior quarterback Hunter Moore. Moore finished 10 of 26 passing for 133 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Giles County, which had defeated its previous 12 opponents by an average of 37.8 points, had its closest call of the season with Friday’s six-point victory. The Bobcats will host Knoxville Fulton in the semifinals next week.