Upperman Runs Away With 28-14 Win at Macon

By Michael Lindsay


Rumors of Upperman’s downfall are heavily exaggerated.

Facing the daunting task of beating undefeated No. 7-ranked Macon County in Lafayette, Upperman never blinked as they defeated the Tigers, 28-14, in a massive Region 4-4A showdown.

“The sky isn’t falling yet,” said Upperman head coach Adam Caine. “We’re still a pretty good team. We’ve got work to do, and we got back to our roots a little bit this week.”

Upperman (5-2, 2-1) delivered Macon County their first loss of the season as the Tigers fall to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in 4-4A play.

The win was Upperman’s second consecutive victory after dropping back-to-back games to Fayetteville and Stone Memorial earlier in the year.

“It’s no big secret we’ve scuffled around a little bit and got our souls checked for two weeks,” Caine said. “Everybody has been questioning: ‘Is it the coach? Is it the players?’ The teams that have beaten us are undefeated.”

In Friday’s win at Macon, two Upperman running backs eclipsed the century mark as Jaxson Rollins rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown while Terrance Dedmon had 125 rushing yards and a TD on 10 carries.

“Terrance saw some things, and he was hitting holes a little better tonight,” Caine said. “Jaxson Rollins is a dynamic player and is getting back to himself. How about the O-Line? Our guys took the challenge and were able to run the football.”

Upperman quarterback Jonathon Rushing made his completions count as he went 3-9 for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

For Macon County, sophomore running back Gabe Borders rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. QB Kyle Shockley went 6-13 for 119 yards and a touchdown through the air.

“Macon has some great players,” Caine said. “Gabe Borders is a dynamic player, and I can’t believe he’s just a sophomore. After the first drive, we kind of bottled him up. I expect them to make a lot more noise the rest of the year because they’re a good football team.”

It was Macon County who found the end zone first as Borders broke loose on a 45-yard touchdown run with 9:34 left in the opening period. A Bryson Higgins extra point put the Tigers up 7-0.

“Coach Shoulders does a great job with that offense,” Caine said. “It’s not like your normal Wing-T where you can just put your guys in a phone booth all week long. He has a good way of spreading it out. You can’t just tee off on it.”

After a slow first quarter, Upperman responded on the first play of the second period as Rushing found Ja’Lyric Cullom on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 11:54 left until halftime. A Sebastian Stanfill extra-point tied the game at 7 each.

Upperman took the lead later in the second quarter as Rollins punched in a 1-yard rush for a touchdown, putting the Bees up 14-7.

Late in the second period, an unlikely hero stepped up and made the game’s biggest play for the Bees. With 1:02 left in the quarter, Upperman defensive lineman Diego Lopez intercepted a Macon County screen pass at the Tiger 25-yard line, setting his team up in pristine field position.

“We have drilled for five years here if you get slipped as a lineman, they’re not giving you free run to the quarterback,” Caine said. “That means they’re probably running a screen. Tonight’s the biggest time we’ve seen that.

“I’m really proud of Diego,” Caine added. “He has paid his dues and grinded his way through. That was awesome; it was a huge play and swung the game.”

Lopez’s interception set up a 25-yard touchdown pass from Rushing to Jaxson Bush two plays later to put the Bees up 21-7 at halftime.

“The touchdown before the half was humongous,” Caine said. “Jaxson Bush is really coming into his own as a player. He’s what I call a ‘program guy.’ He paid his dues as a freshman, worked his way into the lineup as a sophomore and had a good year last year. He’s really becoming a prolific receiver for us this year.”

Upperman put the nail in the coffin at the 7:20 mark of the third period as Dedmon broke loose on a 69-yard touchdown run on the first play after a Bee stop on fourth down. Dedmon’s touchdown put the Bees up 28-7.

Macon County would score a late touchdown with 1:28 left as Shockley connected with Hayden Wix for an 81-yard touchdown, making the final score 28-14 in favor of Upperman.

“These kids were really hungry and came up here and played a great game,” Caine said. “We overcame some adversity. I was very pleased with the way we adjusted to what they were doing.”

Despite Macon County striking first, Upperman handled the early Tiger momentum.

“That means a lot to me as a coach, because it shows we’re growing up a little bit,” Caine said. “Being able to overcome some body blows and adversity. I didn’t really like how we closed that last minute, but it’s something we can learn from. It’s a lot easier to learn from a win than a loss.

“We knew what we were getting into with a hostile environment and a 6-0 team,” he added. “We put our kids on notice all week, and it wasn’t a fun place to be in our field house. I think we figured out the formula of what we need to do the rest of the way.”

Up next for Upperman is a bye week before hosting DeKalb County on Oct. 14.

Macon County makes the long trip east next Friday as they travel to 7-0 and region-leading Stone Memorial with the No. 1 seed on the line.

More Upperman at Macon County content coming to www.uppercumberlandreporter.com.