The Volunteer freshman recovered from an 11-point first-half deficit to earn a 24-21 win over Dobyns-Bennett’s Phillip Armitage in the semifinals of the Northeast Tennessee Madden 20 high school football tournament Monday.
Littleton advanced to play Science Hill’s Corbin Gerarde, who defeated David Crockett’s Prince Kollie 27-20.
The championship game is set for Tuesday at 3 p.m. The broadcast will begin at about 2:45 p.m. on YouTube. Search “high school Madden tournament” to watch.
Gerarde said he expects a challenge from Littleton.
“I watched him play against the Ravens, and he knows how to stop Lamar (Jackson),” Gerarde said. “So I think I’m not going to be able to just run with Lamar. I’m going to have to switch up the play calls.”
Gerarde said he will use the Seahawks in the final. Littleton chose the Chiefs.
LITTLETON 24, ARMITAGE 21
Trailing 21-17 in the fourth quarter, Littleton manufactured a nice drive and capped it off with a short touchdown run by Patrick Mahomes to take the lead with 51 seconds to go.
Armitage had one last chance before a pair of sacks ended the threat.
Littleton said he didn’t panic when faced with the 14-3 hole.
“I had to stay calm,” he said. “Once I figured out what he was doing on offense, I just had to shut it down.”
Littleton got a touchdown before halftime on a 26-yard pass from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, cutting the deficit to 14-10. In the third quarter, a 67-yard run from Damien Williams gave Littleton a 17-14 lead.
Armitage retook the lead with a 50-yard pass from Jackson to Marquise Brown with 4:29 to go, the third scoring connection of the game between Jackson and Brown.
GERARDE 27, KOLLIE 20
After failing to score from inside the 5-yard line before halftime, Gerarde was down 7-0 at the break. He had called a running play with no timeouts remaining.
“It was a bad play call by me,” Gerarde said. “I thought I could get a quick score.”
Gerarde bounced back with a touchdown run by Jackson and a 55-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to take a 10-7 lead.
A Mark Ingram run made it 17-7 as Gerarde took control in the third quarter.
“I knew he wanted to run with Lamar,” Gerarde said. “Once I stopped that I had my defense on locks.”
Kollie responded with a 69-yard bomb from Jackson to Marquise Brown on fourth down, but Gerarde answered with a long TD run by Ingram.
Kollie had one last gasp, getting a 70-yard run from Jackson with 14 seconds to go, and then recovering an onside kick.
A Hail Mary was knocked away, and Jackson was tackled on the game’s final play after a short run.