Tigers sprint past Spartans
There's no substitute for speed. The Marshall County Tigers had little trouble dispatching of District 12-AA newcomer Summit on Friday night, as they defeated the Spartans 35-0 on the road behind a bevy of big plays.
The Tigers (5-2, 4-1) got off to a fast start and reached the end zone on their first three drives to build a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Marshall County then came up empty on their next four possessions, before scoring on consecutive offensive plays to open up a 35-point advantage with 11:25 left in the fourth quarter en route to claiming their fifth victory of the season.
Aided by four long touchdown plays that totaled a whopping 255 yards, the Tigers finished with 429 yards of offense overall despite committing three turnovers.
With Summit (0-7, 0-5) crowding the line of scrimmage to stop the run, MCHS quarterback Austin Stacey torched the Spartans through the air by completing 7-of-12 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tigers also had a productive night running the ball and finished with 198 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Do it all athlete Kevin Peterson touched the ball just six times, but racked up 221 yards from scrimmage, as he caught three passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 92 yards rushing and a TD on three carries.
Senior tailback Trevor Irizarry also rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries, while Chris Walker and Payne Smith each hauled in two passes for 84 and 18 yards respectively with Walker scoring once.
"We are not a one dimensional team. Other teams are loading the box against us and we have to throw the ball. Austin has been working hard on his passing and is a threat throwing the ball," said Marshall County coach Tom Turchetta. "We felt we had the advantage speed wise and thought we could attack the edges of their defense because they were putting eight men in the box and blitzing a lot up the middle."
The Tiger defense, meanwhile, smothered the Spartans triple option attack and limited Summit to only 133 yards of total offense, which included a modest 110 yards rushing on 43 carries.
Spartan quarterback Dale Burdick toted the ball 17 times for 40 yards rushing and completed 4-of-8 passes for 23 yards to go along with one interception. Halfback Dee Hunter also rushed for 31 yards on five carries and caught two passes for 11 yards, while fullback John Gomoljack added 27 yards rushing on seven attempts.
Linebacker Jalen Jones paced the Tiger defense with 12 tackles, while defensive lineman Davey Maddox, Quan Greer, and Dutch Church registered nine, eight, and seven tackles respectively. Mariel Nicholson, Dusty Nance, and Keifer Bolton each had five tackles as well with Nance and Bolton each recording a sack.
"We haven't seen the option all year and they hit a few plays, but overall we did a good job of reading our keys," said Turchetta. "They didn't have anyone that could block Davey Maddox upfront and he made a couple of big hits behind the line of scrimmage."
Place kicker Aaron Medley turned in another solid effort for the Tigers and converted all five extra point attempts while blasting two kickoffs into the end zone.
MCHS grabbed the momentum early and took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Lyttle scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge to cap a 14-play, 64-yard drive that was highlighted by runs of 23 and 12 yards by Irizarry.
After the Tigers forced the Spartans to punt on their first offensive series, Peterson caught a short screen pass near the right hash mark before completely reversing field and racing 72 yards down the left sideline to make it 14-0 with two seconds left in the first quarter.
Following a three and out by Summit, Peterson hauled in a 42-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to give Marshall County a 21-0 lead.
Both teams came up empty on their final two possessions of the half, before MCHS stopped the Spartans on downs at the Tiger 26 on the opening drive of the third quarter after Summit had moved the chains twice thanks to three straight runs that totaled 29 yards.
Although the Tigers lost a couple of fumbles in their own territory on their next two offensive series, Marshall County's defense stood tall and kept the Spartans off the scoreboard by stopping them on downs the first time before forcing them to punt after the second turnover.
Peterson then put the game out of reach a few moments later when he broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown run to stake MCHS to a 28-0 advantage with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
After Summit punted once again, Stacey hit Walker for a 67-yard touchdown strike early in the fourth quarter to push the Tigers' lead to 35-0.
Marshall County then held the Spartans scoreless on their final two possessions to preserve their second shutout of the year.