Tigers trounce Lewis County
The Marshall County Tigers gave local football fans an inkling of their offensive potential on Friday night when they routed the Lewis County Panthers 77-21 in a three-team scrimmage at MCHS.
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.
Despite playing a short field the entire evening, the Tigers racked up 474 yards of total offense overall. Lewis County had trouble tracking down Marshall County's bevy of speedy running backs, as MCHS rolled up 271 yards rushing on 33 carries.
Sophomore tailback Bennielle Hill led the Tigers ground assault by rushing for 97 yards on 12 carries, while Jay Howard added 93 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries. Caleb Fields also toted the ball six times for 54 yards and two TDs and Chris Walker tallied 31 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Although starting quarterback Ashton Posey was unable to play due to an injury, backup signal caller Tanner Clark turned in a fine performance in his stead, as he completed 12-of-19 passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns.
Kacey Pleas was Marshall County's leading receiver and snared four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Howard and Darius McKenzie each had two catches for 39 and 16 yards respectively as well with Howard scoring twice, while Fields hauled in a 34-yard touchdown reception.
"I thought we did a bunch of good things against Lewis County," said MCHS coach Thomas Osteen. "They're a well coached football team, but we had a few more athletes than them and were able to make some big plays offensively."
After struggling to stop the run early on, Marshall County's defense tightened up and limited the Panthers to just 154 yards of total offense.
"I was pleased with how our defense settled down after the first series. They run a lot of misdirection plays, but we did a better job of defending them as the scrimmage wore on and were able to get some stops," said Osteen.
Lewis County relied mainly on their running game and finished with 142 yards rushing on 28 carries. Quarterback Brennan Holt paced the Panthers running attack by rushing for 52 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Gatlyn Simmons rumbled for 48 yards on four carries for Lewis County as well, while Jessie Eglinton toted the pigskin nine times for 24 yards and a TD.
Holt attempted just four passes in the contest, completing two for 12 yards and a touchdown to go along with one interception.
Josh Franklin recorded six tackles to lead Marshall County's defense, while Payton Hood, Blair Conger, and Walker each notched five tackles with Hood recovering a fumble. Cale Shelton also registered three tackles and Howard added an interception.
Marshall County jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown plunge by Clark, but Lewis County mounted an immediate response and tied the game at 7-7 on an Eglinton one-yard TD run.
After Davin Odom caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Holt to put the Panthers up 14-7, the Tigers got their offense cranked up and retied the game at 14-14 thanks to a 14-yard TD catch by Howard before Fields scored on a three-yard run a few minutes later to give MCHS a 21-14 advantage.
The game started to quickly get away from Lewis County after that point, as the Tigers extended their lead 28-14 on a 15-yard touchdown run by Walker before Howard broke loose for a 40-yard TD jaunt to make it 35-14.
Score after score
After Marshall County extended their lead to 42-14 on a one-yard touchdown dive by Clark that was set up by a Hill 39-yard run, Fields caught a short pass from Clark and weaved his way for a 34-yard TD to stake the Tigers to a 49-14 advantage.
Fields then scored on a 20-yard TD scamper to extend MCHS' lead to 56-14 before Clark hit Pleas for a 36-yard touchdown strike to give Marshall County a 63-14 advantage.
The Panthers trimmed the deficit to 63-21 on a six-yard touchdown run by Holt, but Howard extended the Tigers' lead to 70-21 with another 40-yard TD scamper prior to hauling in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Clark to cap Marshall County's 77-2 1triumph.