KEMP — Kemp Yellowjackets kicker Tenilee Anthony came out for football three weeks ago.
She nailed a 35-yard field goal, which was the first of her career in a 37-36 come-from-behind victory Thursday over the Eustace Bulldogs.
“You are proud of your kids in putting themselves in a hole in the first half,” Kemp coach Lee Wilkins said. “We made some silly mistakes and Eustace capitalized on them. I can’t be more excited for our kids because it is a young group and they battled.
“Tenilee came out three weeks ago and wanted to try it and that was her first field goal attempt. It was pretty amazing and we put it on the left. It takes the line blocking and a great snap and hold.”
Kemp (3-3 overall, 2-0 in District 8-3A, Division I play) returns to action Wednesday at Malakoff. The game is the Tigers’ homecoming contest.
“Malakoff is a great team and I know they would say the same thing that anything less than a state championship is under achieving,” Wilkins said. “There is a lot of bad blood in the past two years between the schools. We are going to play hard and fight and give it our best.”
Eustace (2-4 overall, 0-2 in district play) returns to action Wednesday as they host the Fairfield Eagles at the Boneyard. Kickoff for that game is set for 6:30 p.m.
“We got to win and we are not worried about that,” Eustace coach Monty Leaf said. “We have got to get over this one and move forward and get on to Fairfield.”
Due to COVID-19, the District 8-3A, Division I coaches decided to play every six days and have games on Oct. 31 and Nov. 6 in case COVID-19 affected a school.
“Everybody is in the same boat and it is one of those deals that we have to do,” Leaf said. “They are learning to fight and I believe in them.”
Wilkins said his biggest takeaway for the short week was no major injuries.
“The biggest thing out of this is if you get out of a game like this with a short turnaround and don’t have major injuries,” Wilkins said. “We got out pretty clean and nothing that should keep anybody out. We are building a program here and that is a good thing.”
The first quarter was a back-and-forth scoring affair as Eustace opened the scoring on a 33-yard run by Paxton Schwartz. The Bulldogs missed the PAT with 5:48 remaining for the 6-0 lead.
Just 44 seconds later, Christian Case picked off a Deacon Thompson pass and went 33 yards to pay dirt for the 14-0 lead. Jake Haney ran in the conversion.
Kemp answered with the next 13 points as Thompson found Collin Boyle for 57 yards. Anthony booted the PAT good with 4:50 remaining for the 14-7 deficit.
Laramie Greathouse then got in on the Kemp scoring with a 40-yard reception from Thompson with 1:21 remaining. The Yellowjackets missed the PAT for the 14-13 deficit.
In the second quarter, Case hauled in a 42-yard touchdown from Schwartz. Schwartz then ran in the two-point conversion for the 22-13 lead with 10:31 remaining.
Eustace then extended the lead to 30-13 on a 15-yard fumbled punt return.
Kemp rounded out the first half with a 2-yard TD run by Trent McBride and a 6-yard run by Thompson for the 36-28 deficit with 8:57 remaining in the third.
The Yellowjackets outscored Eustace, 17-0, in the second half as McBride scored the final touchdown for Kemp on a 1-yard run with 9:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Wilkins said he was proud of the way his team fought and took the halftime adjustments to heart.
“We had some over anxious kids on the back side with the run so we made some adjustments to at least make those tackles,” Wilkins said. “From the offensive side, we started throwing the ball too much in the first half and didn’t have faith in our run game. In the second half, we tried to control the clock and hit them with the run and pass.”
Leaf said it was tough to see how the Yellowjackets performed in the second half of play.
“The coaches did not do well enough adjusting at halftime,” Leaf said. “They did a very good job at halftime with adjustments and we did not. That is my fault, and my kids fought and gave us great effort. They didn’t quit and give it up to Kemp. They did a great job over there, and they did enough to win the game, and that is just the way it goes.”
NOTES: For a preview of the Wednesday night games for Eustace and Kemp, check out the Tuesday printed edition of the Athens Daily Review. ... We will have a feature on Tenilee Anthony, who had the game-winning field goal in Thursday’s Athens Daily Review.