In an instant classic, Cloudland delivered the final punch.
The ‘Landers captured a 22-21 victory over Coalfield in the Class A Quarterfinals when Seth Birchfield scored from six yards out with 1.4 seconds remaining and then added the two-point conversion on a frosty Orr Field Friday night.
With the win, Cloudland advances to the Class A Semifinals where they will host South Pittsburg. It is the second time in program history that they have advanced to the state semifinals with the previous trip coming in 2001.
Against Coalfield, it was a classic battle from the opening kickoff.
Cloudland got on the board first as Birchfield broke free for a 37-yard run on the opening drive of the game. Caleb Sluder added the two-point conversion.
The Yellow Jackets answered as Canaan Bowling caught a Cole Hines pass for a 38-yard touchdown.
The defenses settled down and yards were hard to come by for the rest of the half.
Coalfield was able to get into scoring position on two drives, but the CHS defense held strong on fourth down twice to preserve an 8-7 lead at the half.
The ‘Lander defense forced Coalfield off the field with a three-and-out to open the second half.
With that, the Cloudland offense went to work and extended the lead to 14-7 as Birchfield scored on a 35-yard run.
Once again, Hines answered for the Yellow Jackets as he hit Levi Mullins for a 36-yard pass to tie the game at 14-14 after three complete quarters.
In the fourth, a Cloudland drive stalled inside the red zone with a turnover, and Coalfield answered as Hines hit Landon Galyon for a 16-yard touchdown. The Haden Hicks extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 21-14 lead with just over five minutes to play.
The ‘Landers, however, weren’t going to be denied.
Cloudland ran out of the wildcat for a majority of the game continued to do so and methodically moved down the field. With key runs by Birchfield and Sluder, the ‘Landers moved into Coalfield territory.
Birchfield used his arm as he found Gage McKinney for a 23-yard pass to get the Blue and Gold inside the Coalfield 10 with 30 seconds remaining.
Cloudland moved the ball to the 1 before being pushed back to the six after a false start penalty with seven seconds left.
That set the stage for Birchfield touchdown and two-point conversion that propelled Cloudland into the next round.
The winning sequence for Cloudland. pic.twitter.com/OTW86uLpET
— Carter County Sports (@CarterCoSports) November 20, 2021
Birchfield finished with 191 yards on 24 carries, while Sluder had 30 carries for 123 yards.
McKinney had 27 yards on one carry and also added 23 receiving yards.
Hines led Coalfield as he was 10-of-15 passing for 196 yards. Bowling had six carries for 42 yards.
The Cloudland defense saw Maverick Simerly and Coy Laney each record a sack.
For more photos, click here.