Tigers stung by Yellow Jackets, still control destiny
The anticipation energy surrounding the first place region match-up between the Associated Press' newly inserted 4A tenth ranked Marshall County Tigers and 3A number three Fairview was off the charts on Homecoming night at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
The Yellow Jackets came into the contest undefeated, sporting a high flying offense, and it didn't take long for the visitors to put the sting on the Tigers as they jumped out to an early lead they would never surrender in a 35-16 win.
MCHS head coach Tom Turchetta said after the game, "They are a good football team, they are a very quick football, but they are not football team that is better than us. When you play a high caliber football team, you can't make mistakes, you can't miss tackles at the point of attack, you can't not execute what your assignment is and allow them go thirty yards for a touchdown. You can't play that way and we did that tonight."
Turchetta added, "We didn't do what we were supposed to do and that is my job and obviously I didn't do a good enough job preparing our football team, but I will be getting their attention on Monday."
Fairview scored on their first offensive possession and took a 14-3 lead before Kevin Peterson returned a punt 92-yards for a touchdown as the first quarter wound down to make it 14-10.
The Yellow Jackets answered quickly, scoring on the initial drive of the second quarter, but once again, the Tigers came back with a late drive to end the half trailing 21-16.
Trevor Irizarry set up the drive on an electrifying punt return to the Fairview 30-yard line.
Tiger signal caller Austin Stacey found Peterson on a pass and catch hookup down to the two-yard line on a second down play, before Irizarry found paydirt with 1:49 remaining in the first half.
The Tigers went for two points, but were stopped and the halftime score was 21-16, Yellow Jackets.
Fairview extended the lead to 35-16 with two third quarter touchdowns as the Tigers three third quarter possessions ended in two punts and a fourth down non-conversion.
"This was the first game we played all year where our offensive line was not able to handle their defensive line," said Turchetta. "I studied the film and again, I didn't do the job preparing our football team, and that is my fault."
The fourth quarter was scoreless as the Tigers fell by the 19-point margin.
Even with the loss, the Tigers (4-2, 3-1) still control their own destiny in the quirky TSSAA playoff formula as they remain atop the 4A standings, trailed by Giles County (4-2, 3-1), Page (3-3, 2-2), Spring Hill (1-5, 1-4), and a winless Summit squad they take on next week.
"Our football team is very disappointed, just like the coaches are, just like I am, but the season is not over," said Turchetta. "We still have four games left, four very winnable games and if we finish 8-2 and win the 4A section of our region, we will still host a first round state playoff game."
The Yellow Jackets outgained the Tigers at an almost three to one pace as they put up 350 yards on offense with most of the damage coming in the ground with 273 yards on 41 carries.
Julian Franklin led the ground assault for Fairview, gaining 132 yards on twelve carries, and scored on an 81-yard run in the third quarter.
Garret Wall rushed for 61 yards and had a third quarter score from 28-yards out.
Fairview quarterback Jack Ramey had a big night, rushing for 23 yards and a score, while throwing for 177 yards on ten attempts, including a pair of touchdown tosses to Deondre Moore from 29 and 38 yards out.
Moore finished with 101 yards on ten receptions and Wall had two catches for 41 yards.
The Tigers' offensive output was meager, coming in under 100 yards in both the running and passing game.
Stacey ended up eight for 19 for 92 yards and no interceptions with Peterson catching six balls for 83 yards and freshman Chris Walker had one catch for 10 yards, while one catch by Payne Smith was for negative one yard.
Irizarry was held to just 33 yards on 22 attempts, Stacey ran for 10 yards on three attempts, and Jalen Jones and Dusty Nance had one-yard runs.