Seniors honored at season finale; Stewart breaks single-season passing-yardage mark, Fraga goes over 1,000 yards rushing in loss to Macon
Published November 6, 2014
By THOMAS P. WEAVER, HORIZON Editor
CELINA-Nine seniors, including seven football players, were honored here at Coach John Teeples Field last Friday night before the Bulldogs’ matchup with the Macon County Tigers, to whom Clay County fell in defeat by a score of 45-20 ending their 2013 campaign at 3-7.
Senior players Jayar Fraga, D.J. Laureigh, Carl Ledbetter, Chris Nagy, Brandon Owens, Harley Smith, and Sloane Tiernan joined cheerleader Holly Comer and manager Laura King as honorees.
Longtime Bulldog public address announcer Michael Miller introduced the seniors to the home crowd as follows:
• Comer is the daughter of Bobby and Michele Comer, a two-year member of the cheerleading squad, and plans to attend Tennessee Technological University (TTU) with a major in pre-medicine to become a pediatric physician’s assistant;
• King is the daughter of Joseph and the late Freda King, and Vonda Pierce, a one-year football manager, and plans to attend Tusculum College with a major in nursing;
• Fraga is the son of May Diaz, a three-year football player and starter, and plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) with a major in aerospace engineering;
• Laureigh is the son of Dale and Ann Laureigh, a two-year football player, one-year starter, and plans to attend Nashville State Community College with a major in civil engineering;
• Ledbetter is the son of Carl and the late Sherry Ledbetter, grandson of Michael and Shirley McCormick, a one-year football player and starter, and plans to attend TTU;
• Nagy is the son of Richard and Lois Hayes, a four-year football player, a three-year starter, and plans to attend Volunteer State Community College with a major in physical therapy;
• Owens is the son of Bruce Owens and Elizabeth Brown, grandson of Shelia Sidwell, a one-year football player and starter, and plans to attend the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Livingston to study collision repair;
• Smith is the son of Serena Teasley and the late Joe Smith, a two-year football player and starter, and plans to attend the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Livingston to study heating and cooling repair;
• Tiernan is the son of Tim and Tammy Tiernan, a four-year football player, two-year starter, and plans to attend TTU with a major in business management.
Dawgs miss playoffs due to 45-20 loss
The Clay County Bulldogs have only made the playoffs one time in the last 10 years and this season was no different as Macon County dashed the Dawgs’ postseason hopes last Friday night and ended the careers of the seven senior players honored before the game.
Despite tough sledding in the newly realigned District 7-A, where Clay County finished third with a 1-2 mark, the Bulldogs still had a shot at another game this season with a win over the Tigers.
Unfortunately for CCHS, Macon County scored the first 28 points of the contest before the Bulldogs could find the endzone, and went on to take the 25-point win.
“We turned the ball over and gave them a short field and they took advantage of it,” coach Chad Barger said. “A game’s pretty much over when you get down four scores, but like they’ve done all year, our kids didn’t quit.
“We got on the board late in the first half and we showed some glimpses in the second half.”
Without the will of senior star back Jayar Fraga and his fellow classmates playing in their final game, the score would’ve been much worse.
Fraga scored his team’s first points late in the second quarter when he took a screen pass from junior quarterback Brandon Stewart 50 yards into the endzone to make it 28-6 after a failed two-point conversion.
Macon County opened the third quarter with another score and knocked home a field goal to end the frame with a 38-6 margin.
Fraga, who finished the night with another outing over the 100-yard rushing mark–which pushed him over 1,000 yards on the season (see related story), then hauled in a Stewart pass for his second receiving touchdown of the game.
The signal-caller set the school’s single-season passing yardage mark with over 1,400 yards (see related story) thanks in part to the 49 yards gained when he found Fraga streaking down the sidelines on a wheel route to paydirt.
Baltazar Sebastian made the point-after and the scoreboard read 38-13.
Macon County immediately answered and made their PAT to make it 45-13, but Fraga didn’t want his last game to end.
While wearing his brother Matt’s #23 jersey to honor the injured junior, Fraga finished off his big night with a 46-yard run and another going for 16 yards setting his team up at the five-yard-line.
Stewart took it in from there and Sebastian split the uprights a second time to account for the final score.
Clay County had 340 total yards on 48 offensive plays in the game. Nine completions accounted for 165 yards through the air and 175 yards on the ground made up the total. CCHS also picked up 11 first downs in the contest.
Macon County gained 364 yards of total offense and 19 first downs, 274 of which came from their rushing attack. Six penalties cost the Bulldogs 50 yards and they had five turnovers (fumble,4 INT). Their opponent had four for 30 yards and didn’t turn the ball over in the game.
Stewart competed nine of 20 attempts for 165 yards, two TDs, and four interceptions.
Fraga was the leading receiver with six catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns, while Clay Copass caught two for eight yards and Nagy had a 26-yard catch.
Fraga was also the team’s leading rusher with 131 yards on 14 carries. Stewart ran eight times for 21 yards and a touchdown, Mitchell Short carried three times for 25 yards, Latrone Bowman had an eight-yard carry, and Smith ran twice for negative three yards.
Nagy led the Bulldog defense with 9.5 tackles, while Short also had a good night on that side of the ball with 8.5 stops. Fraga made 7 solos, Dalton Smith had 5.5, and Matt Maxfield made 3.5. Stewart and Copas had 3 apiece, Ledbetter made 2.5, and Bowman and Owens got on the board with one each.
On special teams, Ledbetter punted three times for 78 yards and Sebastian was a perfect two for two on point-after attempts. Harley Smith had a return covering 15 yards and Fraga totaled 117 yards on five kick-off returns.
Looking back: Current players make their mark
With the Macon County matchup serving as the final game this year and 2013 season totals complete, several current players broke into the all-time single-season performance record books for the former Celina High or Clay County High School.
Stewart made his mark in his first season at the helm of the Bulldogs by breaking the all-time single-season passing yardage mark with a whopping 1,472 yards (10 games). His effort eclipsed Bill Napier’s 1,394-yard season in 1974 (11 games), a record that had stood for nearly 40 years.
Fraga also made the top-10 list of single-season rushers by becoming the first Bulldog back since 2007 to break the 1,000-yard mark. His 1,033 yards put him in the eighth spot on that list behind legends like Gary Davis and Jimmy “Crank” Hull.
Davis holds the record with 1,644 yards in 1993 (11 games) and he broke the 1,000-yard mark three straight years (1992-1994) to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. He had the first, third (1,468 yds/11 gms), and fifth (1,091 yds/11 gms) best seasons ever.
Hull surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau twice and holds both the second (1985: 1,633 yds/14 gms) and sixth (1983: 1,062 yds/11 gms) spots on the list, while Billy “Teakettle” Smith, Brian Burchett, and Gary Eads are also in the top ten.
Stewart topped all Bulldog quarterbacks, including the school’s all-time leading passer Steven Arms–who holds the third, fourth, and eighth spots on the list as the only CHS/Clay County signal-caller to pass for over 1,000 yards three times.
Stewart also finished the season in the top five of single-season touchdown pass leaders with 14. Napier had 20 in his record-breaking year and Arms threw for 17 and 15 respectively in 1987 and 1988.
Stewart’s favorite target also broke into a pair of single-season top-fives. Sophomore Wyatt Mabry had 617 receiving yards and seven touchdowns to claim the fifth spot on each of those lists, despite not playing in the 2013 season finale. Fraga also appeared in that category in the record books with 532 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.
Fraga also broke into the single-season tackle-leader record book with 89 this year.
The complete single-season lists compiled from newspaper archives by coach Daniel Strong–which don’t yet include most statistics from 1996 through 2009 and those from 1976 and earlier*–are as follows:
• Rushing yardage (1,000 yard minimum): Gary Davis – 1,644 (1993, 11 games), Jimmy Hull – 1,633 (1985, 14 games), Gary Davis – 1,468 (1994, 11 games), Billy Smith – 1,255 (1980, 11 games), Gary Davis – 1,091 (1992, 11 games), Jimmy Hull – 1,062 (1983, 11 games), Brian Burchett – 1,056 (1990, 12 games), Jayar Fraga – 1,033 (2013, 10 games), and Gary Eads – 1,002 (1981, 11 games);
• Passing yardage (1,000 yard minimum): Brandon Stewart – 1,472 (2013, 10 games), Bill Napier – 1,394 (1974, 11 games), Steven Arms – 1,330 (1987, 11 games), Steven Arms – 1,223 (1989, 12 games), Roger Short – 1,190 (1976, 11 games), Daniel Strong – 1,161 (1999, 9 games), Mike Adams – 1,025 (1991, 12 games), Steven Arms – 1,009 (1988, 7 games), and Alex McLerran – 1,007 (2010, 10 games);
• Passing touchdowns (10 minimum): Bill Napier – 20 (1974, 11 games), Steven Arms – 17 (1987, 11 games), Steven Arms – 15 (1988, 7 games), Brandon Stewart – 14 (2013, 10 games), Alex McLerran – 12 (2010, 10 games), Steven Arms – 11 (1989, 12 games), Roger Short – 11 (1976, 11 games), and Gary Eads – 10 (1981, 11 games);
• Receiving yardage (500 yard minimum): Brian Burchett – 823 (1989, 12 games), Johnny McLerran – 750 (1976, 11 games), Chris Bartlett – 724 (1999, 10 games), Greg Craig – 638 (1974, 9 games), Wyatt Mabry – 617 (2013, 9 games), John Carlisle – 603 (1987, 11 games), Jayar Fraga – 532 (2013, 10 games), and Brian Halsell – 501 (1985, 14 games);
• Receiving touchdowns (5 minimum): Brian Burchett – 9 (1989, 12 games), John Carlisle – 9 (1987, 11 games), Greg Craig – 8 (1974, 9 games), Bobby Kerr – 8 (1988, 11 games), Wyatt Mabry – 7 (2013, 9 games), Darryl Reecer – 7 (1980, 11 games), Jayar Fraga – 6 (2013, 10 games), Brian Burchett – 5 (1988, 7 games), Matt Copeland – 5 (2010, 10 games), and Al McLerran – 5 (1981, 11 games);
• Tackles (85 minimum): Kenny Garrett – 129 (1988, 11 games), Matthew Boone – 124 (1991, 12 games), Craig Ogletree – 113 (1985, 14 games), Stevie Key – 107 (1987, 11 games), Kenny Garrett – 105 (1987, 11 games), Jeff Korth – 105 (1982, 11 games), James Bartlett – 99 (1978, 10 games), Wesley Bray – 96 (1993, 11 games), Tray Seber – 94 (1991, 12 games), Gary Watson – 92 (1979, 10 games), Jeff Brown – 90 (1989, 12 games), Ray Likens – 90 (1980, 11 games), David Maxfield – 90 (1991, 12 games), Eddie Barlow – 89 (1985, 14 games), and Jayar Fraga – 89 (2013, 10 games).
*See a future HORIZON for updates to these historical lists when they become available as statistics are compiled.