DOVER — Fighting for its playoff life, Stewart County knew it needed to take care of business against Harpeth.
The Rebels were game for much of the contest and tied the score early in the third quarter before injuries to their quarterback and wide receiver led to a 47-28 loss in a Region 6-3A game.
“I thought we were playing well up until the injuries hit us,” Stewart County coach Cody Finley said. “You lose your starting quarterback and wideout and that puts you in a very difficult position, and we just couldn’t overcome that. Our kids did not quit, but it became too much to overcome.”
The loss of Taeton Wienk at quarterback was especially painful considering he had more than 100 rushing yards by halftime and scored all four of Stewart County’s touchdowns. The Rebels (3-5, 1-3 Region 6-3A) also lost wide receiver Austin Kinney.
Finley said Kinney injured his ribs in the first half and Wienk suffered an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter.
“He’s been fighting that injury since the first of the year,” Finley said of Wienk. “He’s just never really been able to get it healed 100 percent.”
It was Wienk’s 8-yard touchdown run with 7:57 left in the third quarter that tied the game 28-28. But Harpeth (4-4, 2-2) broke the stalemate with 39 seconds left in the game when Bradley Baker drove into the end zone from 5 yards out. That gave Harpeth a 34-28 lead.
Wienk’s first pass attempt of the fourth quarter was picked off by Baker, who sprinted 52 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 41-28. Wienk would injure his ankle on Stewart County’s next possession.
The loss all but eliminates the Rebels from a playoff spot. Harpeth and Stewart County entered the game tied for fourth place in the region.
“We still have work to do,” Harpeth coach Doug Loope. “I don’t know if we’re in just yet but if we win out, I know we’ll be in. All we can do is control how we play and see where we’re at when the regular season ends.”