Shelbyville defeats Tigers in Pigskin Preview
On Friday night, the Marshall County Tigers got a chance to work out some wrinkles before the start of the 2012 football campaign when they dropped a 21-7 decision to the Shelbyville Golden Eagles in the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Pigskin Preview at Preston Hopkins Field.
With the contest lasting just one half, the Tigers hung tough early on and played the Golden Eagles to a 7-7 tie in the first quarter.
Shelbyville, however, dominated the battle of the backups in the second period, as the Golden Eagle reserves outscored Marshall County's junior varsity 14-0 over the final 12 minutes to claim the two-touchdown win.
"We had some sloppy play that we need to fix, but I was pleased with the way that the starters competed," said MCHS coach Aaron Pitts.
Bolstered by their strong second quarter performance, Shelbyville racked up 240 yards of total offense while running nearly three times as many plays (39-13) than the Tigers.
The Golden Eagles did much of their damage on the ground and churned out 215 yards rushing on 29 carries.
Tailback Marquis Morton led Shelbyville's offensive attack by rushing for 76 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Backup quarterback Mason Cunningham also rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown on three carries, while Marquis Lyons and Treyvon Smith both toted the ball five times for 44 and 33 yards respectively with Smith scoring once.
Golden Eagle quarterback Brayden Ward and Cunningham combined to complete 6-of-10 passes for 25 yards with Ward throwing one interception.
Marshall County, conversely, put together only one sustained drive in the game and mustered just 89 yards of total offense while picking up three first downs.
Aided by a couple of long runs from Quantae Alderson and Malik Crawford, the Tigers finished with 74 yards rushing on 12 carries. Alderson paced MCHS' ground game with 37 yards on two carries, while Crawford ran the ball six times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Tiger quarterback Austin Stacey completed his lone pass attempt of the game for a 15-yard gain to Kevin Peterson.
Safety Marial Nicholson and Hasain Jefferson led Marshall County's defense with four tackles apiece, while Jalen Jones, Alderson, Nick Jorgensen, Connor Vanatta, and Peyton Hood each registered three tackles with Jones recording an interception.
After Jones picked off Ward near midfield on Shelbyville's opening drive of the game, the Golden Eagles stopped the Tigers on downs to regain possession of the ball.
Shelbyville picked up just five yards on their next three plays, but Morton scampered for 30 yards on a fake punt to move the ball down to the MCHS 20.
Marshall County was then flagged for two defensive penalties before Morton scored on a four-yard touchdown run on 2nd and goal while Andrew Thompson converted the extra point to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead with 1:47 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers got their offense on track on their second possession and marched 70 yards to pay dirt in five plays to tie the game at 7-7 in the waning moments of the first quarter. Stacey hit Peterson for a 15-yard gain on the second play of the drive, before Alderson ran for seven yards to move the ball to the Golden Eagle 46. After Alderson broke loose for a 30-yard run down the right sideline, Crawford scored on a 16-yard touchdown jaunt on the next play while Aaron Medley tacked on the extra point.
"Right now we think we have some guys at the skill positions that can share some reps and do some good things," said Pitts. "We have some talented skill players so we just have to find a way to get them the ball."
Shelbyville quickly responded and put together a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive on their next offensive series, capped by an 18-yard TD run by Cunningham, to seize a 14-7 lead with 8:39 left in the second quarter.
Following a three and out by MCHS, the Golden Eagles stretched their lead to 21-7 with 1:42 left when Smith rumbled for a 20-yard touchdown run on 3rd and 6 to cap a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive.
Shelbyville's Odarius Davis then recovered a Tiger fumble on Marshall County's ensuing possession and returned it 23 yards to the MCHS 7 before the Golden Eagles ran out the clock.