A year ago, Signal Mountain gift-wrapped a win for Hixson with five turnovers.
Friday night, Hixson grabbed victory without doubt in a 19-7 home win over the Eagles.
In their Region 3-4A opener, the Wildcats leaned on star tailback KoKo Kendricks and a defense that refused to bend.
"We're a family," Hixson coach Nick Rivers said, "and we play for each other."
Whether they were playing for each other or everyone from Northgate to Rivermont, Kendricks was the best player on the field. He ran for 146 yards and two scores on just 18 carries and intercepted two passes for the Wildcats (2-2).
The efforts by Kendricks and his teammates were more than enough to overshadow the Eagles' makeshift adjustments with starting quarterback Cash Keene out for the foreseeable future with a collarbone injury. The Wildcats outrushed the Eagles 213-103 as Chase Barnard also ran for 56 yards and a touchdown and threw for 67 yards.
Adam Billingsley led the Hixson defense with 9.5 tackles and David Gibson added 7.5.
Making his first start at quarertback, Garrett Wilson ran for 103 yards and threw for 200, including 10 connections to Blake Wolfard for 161 yards. The Eagles are now 2-2 overall and 1-1 in region play.
"We have to keep fighting," Signal Mountain coach Josh Roberts said. "But we have to keep fighting together."
Chattanooga Christian 51, Silverdale Baptist 24: The Chargers dominated in every facet, scoring 30 points in the second quarter to pull away for the Division II-AA East Region win. Two of their second-quarter touchdowns came on interceptions as Dre Martin returned one 70 yards and Drew Petty took another back 61 yards.
Gavin Berger completed 11 of 15 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns and DaRell Brown ran for 78 yards and two scores for the Chargers (3-1, 2-0).
The Seahawks remained winless through four games, including two in region play.
McCallie 42, Memphis University School 35: After taking a 21-7 lead in the first half, DII-AAA's top-ranked Blue Tornado (4-0) had to hold off a late rally for the nonregion road win over the previously unbeaten Owls. Ja'Von McMahan had 35 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and Jay St-Hilaire threw for 155 yards as the Blue Tornado edged their hosts 389-388 in total yards.
Soddy-Daisy 28, Sequoyah 10: The Trojans pulled away with a 14-0 third quarter for the Region 3-4A win. Tucker Ross had three short touchdown runs and Gabe Welch added a 28-yard scored on the ground as Soddy-Daisy (2-2, 1-1) outrushed the hosts 239-52. Sequoyah is 1-3, 0-2.
Rhea County 35, Howard 0: The Golden Eagles (3-1, 1-0 Region 4-5A) outrushed Howard 232-73, led by Mason Ford's 119 yards and four touchdowns and Hunter Crowe's 95 yards. Howard is 1-2, 0-1.
Marion County 21, Fayetteville 14: The Warriors rallied twice from deficits -- they were down 6-0 at halftime and 14-7 in the fourth quarter -- to improve to 4-0 by winning their Region 4-2A opener. Tilton Pickett threw for 186 yards, while Sam Pickett ran for 59 yards and the winning score, which came with less than a minute remaining in the game. Brody Leonard and E.J. Wilson also had touchdown runs for Marion.
Boyd Buchanan 35, North Cobb Christian 0: DII-AA's fifth-ranked Buccaneers (4-0) forced six turnovers -- three fumbles and three interceptions -- in taking a 27-0 lead by halftime against their Georgia opponent. They got short touchdown runs from David Green and Jatavius Davis, while Asher Keck broke loose for a 79-yard touchdown run and also caught a 9-yard scoring pass from Houston Hicks, who later added a 63-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Moore.
Cleveland 43, Farragut 21: The Blue Raiders (3-1) rolled up 476 total yards, including 308 on the ground, to win their Region 2-6A opener on the road. Brian Beard ran for 128 yards and a score, while Mycah Jordan added 86 rushing yards and three touchdowns and L.J. Adams threw for 168 and a pair of scores.
The Blue Raiders limited Farragut to 79 yards on the ground.
Other area scores:
Copper Basin 39, New Faith Academy 22
Grundy County 37, Tennessee Heat 8
Knoxville Central 24, Ooltewah 17
Knoxville Webb 41, Notre Dame 7
Loudon 30, East Ridge 0
McMinn Central 21, Brainerd 20
Meigs County 21, Sweetwater 14
Polk County 40, Tellico Plains 7
Sale Creek 12, Chattanooga Prep 8
Tyner 27, Central 21
Whitwell 56, Lookout Valley 6
York Institute 27, Bledsoe County 17
Contact Stephen Hargis at [email protected].