Wolverines wallop Tigers
Although Marshall County had their way with Lewis County in a three-team scrimmage on Friday night in Lewisburg, the Tigers had their hands full when they faced LaVergne that same evening, as the Wolverines defeated MCHS 28-0 behind a impressive performance from sophomore running back Maleik Gray.
With every drive starting at the defense's 40-yard line, each team kept the ball for 10 plays before relinquishing possession. If a team scored a touchdown or turned the ball over before their 10 plays was over, they simply started a new drive at the 40-yard line.
As a result of playing on a short field, LaVergne finished with 195 yards of total offense on just 20 plays. The Wolverines did most of their damage on the ground and tallied 125 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Gray showed why he has already received scholarship offers from Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, and Tennessee, as he led LaVergne's ground attack by rushing for 69 yards and four touchdowns on six carries. RoShea Grays also gashed Marshall County's defense and toted the ball seven times for 50 yards.
Wolverine quarterback Drew Howard had an efficient night throwing the ball and completed all five passes for 70 yards. Wide receiver Quinn Jernighan was Howard's primary target and hauled in four passes for 53 yards, while Chris Meyers had one catch for 17 yards.
The Tigers, meanwhile, saw their offense come to a complete standstill against LaVergne, as they mustered just one yard from scrimmage on 20 plays. Except for a 24-yard run by Chris Walker, MCHS had no success on the ground and finished with -4 yards rushing on 13 carries. Walker was the lone Marshall County back to gain positive yardage and tallied 27 yards on seven carries.
Tiger quarterback Tanner Clark was under siege for most of the contest and was sacked three times by LaVergne while completing only 3-of-7 passes for 5 yards to go along with one interception.
"The biggest thing I wanted to see was how we would do against a bigger team from a tough District," said Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen. "We were a little shell shocked against them. They have a guy that's being recruited by every team in the SEC and it took us a little while to get used to their speed. If we want to go deep in the playoffs that's the kind of team we're going to face."
The Wolverines wasted little time getting on the board and reached the end zone in just four plays to take a 7-0 lead. Following a five-yard defensive encroachment penalty on MCHS, Grays scampered for 10 yards to move the ball down to the Tiger 25 before Gray scored on a 15-yard TD run three plays later.
LaVergne then stretched their lead to 14-0 a few moments later when Gray broke loose for a 32-yard touchdown jaunt.
Marshall County had a chance to cut into the deficit after driving down to the Wolverine three-yard line with the help of a Walker 24-yard run and an 11-yard catch by Darius McKenzie.
The Tigers, however, began to go backwards after that point, as tailback Bennielle Hill was dropped for a five-yard loss on first down before wide receiver Kacey Pleas lost seven yards on a screen pass. After Wolverine defensive back O'Shea Benjamin broke up a pass by Clark in the end zone, linebacker Tori Bailey intercepted a desperation fourth down throw by the junior signal caller to snuff out the MCHS drive.
Gray then stretched LaVergne's lead to 21-0 by scoring on a five-yard touchdown run, which was set up by a 38-yard catch by Jernighan, before racing 15 yards for a TD on the Wolverines next drive to cap the Wolverines 28-0 victory.