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Despite early lead, Dragons fall in first round

Collierville junior running back Peyton McCay weaves his way through Mt. Juliet’s defense Friday in round one of the state football playoffs. McCay helped the Dragons take a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. However, Mt. Juliet stormed back to win the game 28-24 and will play Whitehaven this Friday.  Photo by Roger Cotton
Collierville junior running back Peyton McCay weaves his way through Mt. Juliet’s defense Friday in round one of the state football playoffs. McCay helped the Dragons take a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. However, Mt. Juliet stormed back to win the game 28-24 and will play Whitehaven this Friday.  Photo by Roger Cotton

Collierville junior running back Peyton McCay weaves his way through Mt. Juliet’s defense Friday in round one of the state football playoffs. McCay helped the Dragons take a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. However, Mt. Juliet stormed back to win the game 28-24 and will play Whitehaven this Friday. Photo by Roger Cotton

By STEVEN JENKINS

Collierville traveled to Mt. Juliet last Friday to play the Golden Bears with hopes of advancing to the second round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Both teams were evenly matched statistically and played a hard fought game. Mt. Juliet stopped Collierville from scoring late in the fourth quarter and drove 80 yards for the winning score to beat the Dragons 28-24. Collierville ended the season with a 5-6 record, while Mt. Juliet moves on to play Whitehaven in the second round of the playoffs.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys leading up to this playoff game,” said Coach Mike O’Neill. “The entire day they were focused and did their job. We just came up short. They battled all year long and proud of them.”
Collierville started out the scoring in the first quarter on a 48-yard touchdown pass play from Matt Conners to Marcus Bersosa (PAT by Dylan Scott was good) for the early 7-0 lead.
The Golden Bears scored in the second quarter on a 22-yard touchdown run (PAT was good) to tie the score at 7-7.
Scott then kicked a 22- yard field goal to give the Dragons the 10-7 lead going into halftime.
In the middle of the third quarter, Connors connected again with Bersosa on a 60-yard pass play to give the Dragons the ball on the Golden Bear’s 2-yard line.
Peyton McCay then scored on a 1-yard touchdown run (PAT by Scott was good) for the 17-7 lead.
However, Mt. Juliet scored on its next series with a 14-play, 83-yard drive that ended on a 1-yard touchdown run (PAT was good) to cut into the lead 17-14.
Early in the fourth quarter, Tyler Garvey intercepted a Golden Bear pass and scored on a 45-yard pick six (PAT by Scott was good) to give the Dragons the 24-14 lead.
Mt. Juliet came back on the next series and scored on a 13-play, 80-yard drive (PAT was good) to cut the lead 24-21.
On Collierville’s next series, the Dragons drove down the field but missed a 24-yard field goal to give Mt. Juliet the ball on the 20 yard line.
The Golden Bears wasted no time in scoring with a 4-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off by a 29-yard touchdown run (PAT was good) to give Mt. Juliet the 28-24 lead.
Collierville tried to score with under a minute left in the game but was unsuccessful.
One of the key factors in the game was Collierville’s inability to stop Mt. Juliet on the last two drives of the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Connors had a solid game, going 10-18 for 214 yards with one touchdown, and rushing eight times for 51 yards.
McCay led the running game with 28 carries for 110 yards and one touchdown.
Marcus Bersosa led the receivers with three catches for 121 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Garvey led the Dragons with seven tackles and an interception for a pick six. Ryan Stanfill had six tackles, and Devan Reynolds and Wyatt Raines both had five tackles each.

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