Star running back Matt Fox rushed for more than 200 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Anderson County Mavericks opened the regular season with a 35-19 win over the Clinton Dragons on Friday night.
The crosstown rivals traded touchdowns in the first half, and the Mavericks had a slight 14-13 lead at halftime.
But the momentum quickly shifted at the start of the second half, when the Mavericks scored on a 21-yard run by Fox after only two plays and 29 seconds. That run followed a roughly 50-yard pass from Anderson County quarterback Zane Smith to Aaron Sharp.
Anderson County held the lead and scored twice more, once on a five-yard run by Fox midway through the third quarter and again after Garrett Johnson intercepted a pass from Clinton quarterback Tyler Thackerson and returned it for a touchdown with 11:01 remaining.
The final score was 35-19.
Johnson also scored the Mavericks first touchdown on a six-yard run as time expired in the first quarter.
While the Mavericks relied heavily upon the running game, the Dragons scored two of their three touchdowns through the air, one on a 19-yard pass to Beau Crisp to open the scoring in the first quarter after an Anderson County fumble, and the other a third-quarter two-yard toss to Crisp—who had a big night on both offense and defense.
Thackerson, a junior, passed for about 180 yards and led the Dragons in rushing with more than 40 yards on nine carries. He also scored on a one-yard sneak at 9:03 in the second quarter.
Fox, a senior who rushed for more than 2,400 yards last year, finished the night with about 250 yards on more than two dozen carries on Friday. He also scored in the middle of the second quarter on a four-yard run.
It was the sixth consecutive win for the Mavericks in the rivalry between the two District 3-AAA foes, a competition also known as Battle of the Bridge.
Anderson County, which made it to the Class 5A state quarterfinals last year, plays Austin-East (0-1) at home next week (Friday, August 29). The Mavericks play Oak Ridge, which opens the season at home against Farragut next week, at Blankenship Field on Thursday, October 30.
Clinton (0-1) will play Seymour (1-0) at home on Friday, August 29. The Dragons travel to Oak Ridge on September 5.