It was a tighter battle then most expected. However, it was the Highlanders who came out on top.
Cloudland rallied late to take a 21-17 victory over Tri-Cities Christian on Friday night in Kingsport.
After a scoreless first quarter, Austin Whitehead scored from nine yards out early in the second quarter to give the Highlanders a 7-0 lead. After the Eagles answered with a touchdown of their own, Tri-Cities Christian kicked a 40-yard field goal with two seconds before half to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Highlanders saw Whitehead score again from four yards out to regain the lead. However, Tri-Cities connected for a 10-yard touchdown pass with just under five minutes to play to take a 17-14 lead.
Senior Zac Benfield dived into the end zone from three yards out to regain the Cloudland lead. The Highlander defense kept the Eagles from taking the victory in the closing minute by holding them on four plays inside the five yard line.
Whitehead finished the game with 136 yards on 28 carries, while Colby Birchfield had 53 yards on 12 carries. Whitehead also had 101 yards on 9-of-14 passing.