4-star Alabama football QB commit Ty Simpson, Westview fall to Peabody, winners of 39 straight
The Ty Simpson-led Westview High football team missed putting an end to the longest active winning streak in Tennessee by that much.
Simpson, the four-star Alabama-bound quarterback, gave his team a one-point lead with 1:42 left in Friday's game at Peabody, the back-to-back-to-back Class 2A state champions.
The rest was out of his capable hands. All he could do was watch. Or not. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder spent the rest of the game kneeling under the Chargers' sideline tent, biting his nails, peeking around his teammates just in time to see Chase Minton's 23-yard, field goal split the uprights as time expired. Peabody won 31-29.
With that, Simpson put his helmet back on, shook hands with each member of the Golden Tide (winners now of 39 straight) and started processing what had just happened. The last thing on his mind was the future.
"Nothing I didn't already know," said Simpson when asked what he learned about himself in the narrow loss. "I know I love to win. Even though I'm going to Alabama, that don't mean crap. (We) came up short tonight. But there were 22 guys out here playing their tails off, and I can't thank them enough, all those guys. And I appreciate the Westview fans for coming out."
Simpson and his Chargers teammates gave the hundreds of Westview faithful plenty to remember. Simpson finished the game with 230 yards through the air on 19-of-32 passing with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
He also rushed for 155 yards on 15 carries with another score on the ground. Simpson's touchdown run came on a 69-yard dash up the gut that cut into Peabody's 14-0 lead. On the first snap of Westview's next offensive series, Simpson's front-shoulder pump fake gave Garner Anderson enough room between himself the defender to haul in the 39-yard score.
There were more wow moments out of Simpson. Early in the second half with Peabody up 21-14, he zig-zagged his way into his own end zone to avoid the pursuit of multiple defenders. Then, he connected with a teammate who took it in from 76 yards out. But, a personal foul penalty negated the would-be touchdown.
Simpson also had a 6-yard rushing touchdown waved off by a flag for holding.
"Anybody that hasn't seen him in-person needs to go to Westview and watch that kid play," Peabody coach Shane Jacobs said. "Special kid, special player. Yeah, he's just a winner. That's what he is. That's why he's going to Alabama to play for a winner. He'll have a great career at Alabama."
But Friday wasn't about that. Not for Simpson.
"It's my senior year," he said. "These are my lifelong buddies, who I love and who I'd do anything for. I've got to hang on to all these memories. Garner Anderson with that great back-shoulder catch. Omarion Harris with the great go-ahead touchdown (catch)."
Simpson's father, Jason – getting set to begin his 16th season as head coach at UT Martin – was also trying to stay present.
"Two years ago, I missed one (of Ty's games) when we played Florida," he said. "That's the only one. I won't miss another one because I'll have to miss them in the years to come. I'm not looking forward to that."
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.