Tigers open season with 27-8 win

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
MCHS tailback Malik Crawford (4) races down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown run on the Tigers' first play on offense. Photo by Phillip Pullen

The Marshall County Tigers looked like Big Cats that went without a meal for months as they stormed out of their cage and pounced on Coffee County for an early 20-0 lead and never took their claws out of the Red Raiders in a huge 27-8 win in front of a packed house at Preston Hopkins Field Friday night in Lewisburg.

First year MCHS head coach Aaron Pitts picked up his first win and said after the game, "It always feels good to get the "W," but I am definitely not satisfied, too many mistakes, too many turnovers, too many penalties, so we have to get better overall as a team."

Coffee County got the opening kickoff at their own twenty-yard line after the first of six touchbacks off the foot of MCHS stellar kicker Aaron Medley and three plays later, Barry Mayes tackled Deangelo Rozier in the backfield for a three and out.

The Tigers bust through the team banner before the game and kept on going as the jumped out to an early 20-0 lead on their way to an opening season 27-8 win over Coffee County at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

Payne Smith fielded the Coffee County punt by David Morgan and took off up the gut before being tackled at the Red Raider 40-yard line where the Tigers took over.

MCHS junior quarterback Austin Stacey signaled the thunder triple option call and pitched the pigskin to Mailk Crawford, who juked left and then took off down the right sideline untouched for a 40-yard touchdown as the hometown crowd erupted with joy.

Medley drilled the extra point for a 7-0 Tiger lead with just two minutes and five seconds gone in the contest.

Marshall County head coach Aaron Pitts gives the Tigers some last minute instructions before the start of the home opening 27-8 win over Coffee County. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

Backed up again at the twenty, Coffee County was stuffed on three plays and had to punt.

MCHS took over after the punt at the Red Raider 41-yard line and on a third down and three yards to go, Stacey tossed a bomb down the visitor's sideline to Kevin Peterson, who leaped in the air and made a spectacular grab over top of two Coffee County defenders before falling into the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.

Medley added the PAT and the Tigers led 14-zip with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter.

Antonio Shelton (28) grabs Deangelo Rozier (6) low before Cain Hendrix (33) comes in to finish off the Coffee County running back. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

The Tigers' defense forced another punt and after three plays and a personal foul on Coffee County, MCHS had the ball at the Red Raiders' 25-yard before a fumble ended the drive.

MCHS held firm after the turnover, forcing Coffee County to give the ball over on downs.

The first quarter ended with the Tigers leading by two touchdowns and three plays into the second quarter, Stacey scored on a quarterback keeper from a dozen yards out.

The Medley PAT was blocked and the score was 20-0 with 11:33 left in the first half.

Coffee County mounted their best drive of the first half after the Stacey score, driving the ball deep into Marshall County territory before Payton Hood tackled Rozier behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth down play.

The two squads traded punts on their next two possessions, but the Medley punt was bobbled and fumbled before being recovered by Quantae Alderson at the Coffee County 40-yard line.

MCHS drove to the Red Raider 30-yard line where Medley came on for a field goal, but the ball sailed right and no good as the half ended with the Tigers still posting the shutout.

MCHS got the ball to begin the second half, but went three and out.

Coffee County looked recharged and drove the ball all the way to Marshall County goal line before Alderson came up with another huge play when he tackled Rozier on a fourth down play behind the line scrimmage.

The Tigers were stopped at their own 11-yard and were forced to punt, but the snap sailed over Medley's head for a safety and the score was 20-2 with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter.

On the free kick, Medley came up with another big special teams play, drilling an 80-yard punt into the Coffee County end zone for touchback.

The Tiger defense was buoyed by the Medley kick and stopped Coffee County on three plays.

Smith fielded the ensuing punt and took the ball into Coffee County territory where a personal foul was tacked on at the end of the return, giving the Tigers great field position at the Red Raider 28-yard line.

Two snaps later, Stacey scored from 17-yards out on a keeper and Medley added the extra point to give MCHS a 27-2 lead with 1:01 left in the third quarter.

Rozier would finally get the Red Raiders six points early in the fourth quarter, but that would be all the scoring for the rest of the night as the Tigers came away with the win.

"Coffee County is a hard-nosed team," said Pitts. "So, I am glad we came out fast, we made some mistakes, but we did come back from them and stood tall on defense. We have to get back to the fundamentals, football is a simple game, if you can tackle and you can block, you will win a lot of football games."

Crawford would eclipse the century mark on the ground, rushing for 109 yards on 13 carries.

Stacey rushed for 40 yards on 13 touches and passed for 78 yards in the contest for the Tigers and Peterson ended up with 5 catches for 73 yards.

On Friday in Lewisburg, MCHS will entertain Hickman County, who beat Harpeth 36-0 in Week Zero and Waverly Central 37-6 in Week 1.