Tigers rout Raiders, await region showdown
Well coached teams do not fall into traps and on Friday night, the Marshall County Tigers (4-1, 3-0) were the ones setting and springing the trap in a big 35-14 no doubt about it win, ruining Spring Hill's homecoming gala.
Not letting his team get too high from the win, MCHS head coach Tom Turchetta said after the game, "I don't know if we took care of business, we started to take care of business. This team is in uncharted waters, we have not been in a position to be a favorite, we have been fighting our way from the bottom up, and we didn't handle it very well."
Turchetta added, "This was a game we should have won handily. I am thankful for the win, I am glad for the kids, but that is not the way we want to win football games."
After an emotional win over Giles County last Friday and with what could be the battle royale for region supremacy looming against Fairview this week, Turchetta's Tigers took the fight out of the Raiders (1-4, 1-3) early, scoring 35 unanswered points.
Spring Hill took the opening kickoff and made some progress, moving the ball to the Marshall County 37-yard line before Davey Maddox drilled the Raider running back for a two-yard loss.
The Raiders decided to go for it, facing a fourth down and four, but the Tigers would not budge, stopping tailback Rodney Harvell short of the first down.
On the Tigers' second offensive play, senior standout running back Trevor Irizarry added to his already masterful season with a 61-yard jaunt, outracing the Spring Hill secondary down the MCHS sideline and in to the endzone.
Irizarry would finish with 180 yards on 18 carries, boosting his season total to 679 yards.
Spring Hill was still in an inspired mood and once again had the ball at the MCHS 37-yard line before a false start penalty, followed by a Dusty Nance sack on quarterback Colby Ross made it third and twenty-five.
Ross tried to make something happen, but Dre Lyttle picked the ball off and the Tigers took over at the 30-yard line and drove to the Spring Hill end of the field before the quarter ended with MCHS leading 7-0.
After a long delay on an official's timeout because of a broken scoreboard clock, the Tigers sprung the trap as Austin Stacey found a wide-open Payne Smith on a 30-yard touchdown strike.
The PAT was no good and the quarter wound almost all the way down before the Tigers took a 21-0 lead on Stacey's second touchdown throw of the game, this time a 48-yard catch and run by Kevin Peterson with 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
Irizarry pounded in the two-pointer and the Tigers went to the locker room with a 21-0 lead.
The Tigers put the Raiders away for good on the first possession of the second half, driving to the Spring Hill 15-yard line where Jalen Jones rumbled up the middle to paydirt for his first touchdown of the season.
Medley's PAT was true and MCHS led 35-zilch.
Maddox and the rest of the MCHS defense were looking for the kill shot and they got it when Dutch Church recovered a fumble at the Tiger 49.
MCHS gave the ball back on a fumble, but on the next play, the Tigers knocked the ball loose again and Nance recovered at the Raider nine-yard line.
Peterson scored on the next play and Medley added the PAT for a 35-0 MCHS lead with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Turchetta went to his reserves from there and was not at all happy about their performance as the Raiders scored on consecutive possessions to make it 35-14 with seven minutes left.
On Spring Hill's last offensive series, Turchetta went back to the starters and Peterson intercepted a third down pass put the game on ice.
"We substituted to try to get some guys playing time in the fourth quarter and they didn't handle it very well," said Turchetta. "We had to go back and put our first group back in to get something done. We are more organized than that and we have to play better overall."
Turchetta added, "Coaches always want things to go better, but that is just the way it is."
"We need that, we really do," said Peterson about his coach's quest for weekly improvement. "We are going back to work hard in practice like we normally do. We are not going to take any game lightly."
The Tigers will get their biggest test in several years when the undefeated Yellow Jackets (6-0, 4-0) invade Preston Hopkins Field Friday night in a homecoming contest.
Irizarry, a Lawrence County High School senior transfer has found himself in a situation he has always hoped for and said about the Fairview game, "I am glad I'm here. We are going to work our butts off in practice this week and they (Fairview) will come to the "Hop" and we will take care of business."
MCHS finished with 343 yards of total offensive in the game, while Spring Hill managed just 243 with the majority coming in mop-up time.