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Unbeaten Pioneers survive Halls' upset bid in OT

Johnny Wilson • Nov 3, 2018 at 1:32 AM

JONESBOROUGH — Micah Robinson proved again Friday night that he is a money player, rescuing a perfect season and keeping David Crockett's dream alive.

A do-it-all senior, Robinson hauled in two touchdown passes, including a 12-yard game-winner in overtime as the undefeated Pioneers survived inspired Knoxville Halls with a 20-17 win to open the TSSAA Class 5A football playoffs.

The Pioneers (11-0) advance to the second round and will next host upstart Tennessee High in a rematch of another overtime game back on Oct. 12.

"To quote Jim Valvano, survive and advance," said relieved first-year Crockett coach Hayden Chandley. "These kids just wouldn't quit."

Robinson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound slot man with over 1,000 yards receiving this fall, made a diving grab of a Cade Larkins second-down pass in the end zone, lifting Crockett to victory following a Knox Halls field goal in overtime.

Earlier, Robinson had speared a beautiful 31-yard TD toss from Larkins to help Crockett gain a 14-7 advantage with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

Robinson finished with six receptions for 119 yards.

"Micah had a couple drops early but we told him not to drop his head, just to keep on truckin' and keep on playing," Chandley said. "He's kind of our unsung hero who has seen his hard work pay off. I'm really happy for him — and us."

TOUGH NIGHT

Halls pushed the Pioneers to the limit because the Red Devils (5-6) gave Larkins and Crockett's fabled passing game fits.

A junior gunslinger who now has 38 TD tosses and right at 3,400 yards passing this season, Larkins completed just 13 of 33 passes for 227 yards.

It rained lightly throughout the game, but Chandley said Halls was prepared for Larkins and his aerial assault.

"All the credit goes to Knox Halls," Chandley said. "They played extremely hard and they had us tore up. They stymied us much of the night, but these kids found a way like they always do."

ONE-TRACK MIND

The Red Devils relied on the incredible effort of running back/linebacker T.J. Holmes to nearly pull the upset.

A powerful 5-foot-9, 205-pound junior battering ram, Holmes carried 38 times for 209 yards before finally giving in with 2:17 left in regulation due to an ankle injury.

Holmes' 31-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter gave Hall's a 7-6 lead with Briggs Marcantel's extra-point kick.

Halls completed just one of 15 passes, but that was a 17-yard scoring toss from quarterback Ty Humphrey to wideout Nathan Hoyle to tie the game at 14 with 4:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.

JOYNER TD

Ronquille Joyner provided Crockett with a 6-0 halftime advantage on a 1-yard burst with 1:07 left in the second quarter.

Joyner's tally was set up by a 21-yard punt return from John Kollie, whose clutch play positioned the Pioneers at the Halls 39.

BIG PLAY

One of the game's biggest plays was a beautiful two-point, throwback conversion pass from Larkins to shifty Mark Seidler, giving the Pioneers their 14-7 lead.

UP NEXT

Crockett will entertain Tennessee High — a first-round upset winner over South Doyle — in Friday's second round.

The Pioneers beat the Vikings 24-21 in OT just three weeks ago.

"I guess we're an overtime kind of team," Chandley said. "But we'll take it."

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