Tigers closed out early in Columbia
After a crucial region overtime loss to Tullahoma in week two, the Columbia Central Lions took out their frustrations on the Marshall County Tigers, jumping on head coach Tom Turchetta's young squad early and often in a 42-17 pasting at Jim Cartwright Field in Columbia Friday night.
Turchetta said after the game, "We are young and I know people don't want to hear that every week, but this is a process. Building a football team, building a football program is not a sprint, it's a marathon."
Turchetta, who was the Lions' defensive coordinator for three seasons before coming to Lewisburg added, " We played a team tonight that has won sixteen out of nineteen games. They have had success and they have spent a tremendous amount of time in the weight room and they are older than our kids, so you know this is a process."
In front of a huge homecoming crowd that included scouts from Georgia Tech University, the Lions showcased senior running back Tra'Darius Goff and he must have made a huge impression on the 'Ramblin Wreck' personnel when he singlehandedly gave the Lions a 14-0 lead in about four minutes.
The Tigers received the opening kickoff, went backwards on three straight plays, and had to punt the ball away.
Starting at the Tigers' 31-yard line, Goff scampered down the home sideline twenty-six yards on first down and walked in from five yards out to paydirt on second down.
Chris Harris' point after touchdown kick was good, making it 7-0 with 9:33 left to play in the opening quarter.
Harris boomed the ensuing kickoff into the endzone for a touchback.
Tiger fullback Jalen Jones busted up the middle for two tough yards on first down before the Lions tackled Malik Crawford in the backfield for a loss back to the original line of scrimmage.
On third down, Crawford got to the outside, but Goff stole the wet pigskin out of the freshman's hands and raced for a twenty-yard touchdown return.
Harris nailed the PAT for a 14-0 Lion lead.
Another touchback gave the Tigers the ball at the twenty once again.
Zach Kirby busted for 2 yards up the middle on first down before Tiger quarterback Trevor Carter found Jones on a middle screen for five yards, making it third down and two.
The Lions stuffed the Tigers on the play, forcing an Aaron Medley punt.
Starting at the Tigers' 43-yard line, the Lions handed the ball to sophomore Chris Martin five consecutive snaps for a touchdown, making it 21-0 after the PAT.
There was still four minutes left in the first quarter after the Martin touchdown and Harris booted his third straight kickoff into the endzone for a touchback.
Carter ran for four yards on first down and then Kevin Peterson, playing in his first game of the season for the Tigers, caught a Carter pass and ran up to the 43-yard for the MCHS' initial first down in the ballgame.
Crawford ran twice for seven yards and on third down Carter scrambled for one yard, but had to leave the game after being poked in the eye.
Turchetta decided to go for it on fourth down and freshman quarterback Austin Stacey delivered on a run up the middle.
Stacey ran for five more yards on the last play of the first quarter.
Two plays into the second quarter, the drive stalled and Medley had to punt the ball back to the Lions.
The Lions wasted no scoring when Haden Tate found Dre Hall three plays later behind the Tiger secondary for a 70-yard touchdown strike, making it 28-0 with 9:03 left to play in the first half .
Tiger senior Jack Whaley gave the large Lewisburg travelling crowd something to cheer about when he returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for touchdown.
Medley added the extra point and the Tigers trailed 28-7.
Medley boomed the kickoff into the endzone for touchback.
Lightning struck again when Hall took the first down handoff from Tate and raced 80 yards for another Lions' score, making it 35-7 after the PAT.
The Tigers fought back.
Carter re-entered the game and hooked up with Peterson for a big gain all the way down to the Columbia 27-yard line.
Three plays later, the duo hooked up again for a touchdown and after the Medley PAT, the score was 35-14.
There was no more scoring in the first half.
Goff was back in the Lions' backfield to begin the third quarter and they fed him the ball six straight plays with the talented tailback capping off the scoring drive with a 4-yard run, making it a 42-14 ballgame.
There was no offense to speak of the remainder of the game for both squads, except for a 37-yard Medley field goal with four minutes left in the contest that cemented the 42-17 final score.
Goff ended up with 112 yards and Hall rushed for 90 yards.
The Tigers (1-2, 1-0) entertain Fairview (3-0, 1-0) at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg Friday night in a 7:30 pm start.
Turchetta said, "Another exhibition game is over. We got a region game coming up next week and I told the kids the same thing tonight that I told them after the BGA game. Let's come back and work and prepare and if we win the region game we are 2-0 in the region and we are 2-2 and tonight's a memory."