The Claiborne High School Bulldogs played host to the Tigers of Pigeon Forge on Friday, Oct. 28th and lost a tough one by a score of 21-19. The game was also senior night, and the Bulldogs Team will be losing eight seniors which are: Nick Chronis, Dustin Kenningham, Michael North, Josh Osborne, Fuson Parker, Jeff Poore, and Matt Rowland, Jeremiah Russell.
The first quarter began well for the Bulldogs with Jeff Poore starting out with an interception he returned to the Pigeon Forge 11 yard line. However, they could not convert, and they punted the ball back to the Tigers. The Tigers possession proved short as Poore intercepted the ball again and ran 27 yards resulting in Claiborne's first touchdown. The score was 7-0 with 8:25 to go in the first quarter, and remained that way until the second quarter.
With 11:16 to go in the second quarter, Pigeon Forge attempted a field goal, but it was blocked and the Bulldogs recovered the ball on the 15 yard line. The next play, Ryan Helton carried the ball 85 yards for another touchdown for Claiborne. They missed their PAT and with 11:02 to go, the score was 13-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Within the next two minutes, Matt Williams' interception allowed Claiborne to have the ball back. They pushed the ball all the way to the 18 yard line, and Brett Minor carried it the remaining 18 yards for their third and final touchdown of the night. They attempted the 2 point conversion, but failed to get it, so the score was 19-0 for the remainder of the half.
Pigeon Forge tried to score before halftime, but Ryan Helton intercepted the ball with 2.9 seconds to go, and the first half was over.
The third quarter started ominously with a fumble by Claiborne. However, the Tigers did not score until there was 7:15 left in the third quarter. The PAT was good, and the score was 19-7. After a disputable fumble by the Bulldogs, Pigeon Forge gained the ball back and scored another touchdown with 5:06 to go in the quarter. The score remained 19-14 for the rest of the third quarter.
Possession went back and forth most of the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs' defense held strong until there was 21 seconds to go, and with a pass to the end zone, the Tigers scored the winning touchdown of the game. The PAT was good, and the final score was 19-21, Pigeon Forge.
The Bulldogs finish 2-4 in the conference and 5-5 for the regular season. They will play the Fighting Irish at Knoxville Catholic High School next Friday, Nov. 4th for the first round play-offs. The game will begin at 7:30. It marks the first time in 27 years Claiborne has made the play-offs.