Tigers tear up Page
You can't hit what you can't catch. The Marshall County Tigers served notice to the rest of District 12-AA on Friday night when they pummeled the Page Patriots 54-30 on the road behind a slew of big plays in their conference opener.
Page had yielded just a total of 17 points in their first two games and actually held a 10-6 lead late in the first quarter. The Tigers, however, promptly unleashed 12 minutes of fury upon the Patriots and scored six touchdowns during that span to take a 48-10 advantage into the break before coasting to their third straight win over their longtime District rival.
"We were a little sloppy in the first quarter, but the guys are resilient and played really well after that," said MCHS coach Thomas Osteen. "I was a little surprised with how easily we scored on them. We had a good week of practice and talked about paying attention to details. Give credit to the players because they did a great job of executing tonight."
Marshall County recorded six plays of 30 yards or more en route to rolling up 480 yards of total offense. Although Page limited the Tigers to a modest 116 yards rushing on 35 carries, the Patriots had trouble corralling MCHS' speedy group of wide receivers in the open field, as Marshall County quarterback Ashton Posey completed 15-of-20 passes for a career high 364 yards and four touchdowns to go along with one interception.
Sophomore wide out Jay Howard burned Page every time he touched the ball and caught four passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Kacey Pleas also hauled in five passes for 103 yards and a TD, while Tre Crutcher had two catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. D'Andre Brown notched three receptions for 24 yards as well.
Despite being forced to sit out much of the final three quarters due to dehydration, senior tailback Chris Walker still had a major impact on the game, as he rushed for 29 yards and a TD on four carries, returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and returned an interception 64 yards to set up another score by the Tigers.
Posey also toted the ball six times for 36 yards, while Benielle Hill added 28 yards and a TD on six carries. Brown rushed for 22 yards on seven carries as well.
"We've got a lot of talented players on offense and the offensive line is playing great," said Osteen. "When I got here, it was almost too good to be true when I saw how much talent we had. We've got a lot of good football players and I thought we could have some nights like this offensively."
The Patriots finished with 352 yards of total offense, but rushed for only 85 yards on 26 carries and committed two costly turnovers, which were both converted into touchdowns by the Tigers.
Quarterback Michael Magochy shouldered much of the offensive burden for Page and completed 14-of-28 passes for 228 yards. Backup signal caller Aiden Condo also connected on 3-of-6 passes for 39 yards and a TD, while Tyler Thieman had his lone pass attempt of the night picked off by Walker.
Trevor Johnson paced the Patriots receiving corps with four catches for 72 yards. Thieman snared three passes as well for 37 yards, while Seth Filaroski, Tanner Brown, and Michael Roberts each had two catches for 69, 27, and 23 yards respectively. Roberts was also Page's leading rusher and carried the ball 13 times for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Cornerback Josh Franklin recorded nine tackles and a recovered a fumble to lead Marshall County defensively. Steven Dangerfield notched six tackles as well, while Peyton Williams, Prentice Davis, and Cale Shelton each had five tackles.
Patriots lead early
The Patriots aerial attack gave Marshall County fits early on, as Page advanced to the MCHS 8 on their opening possession with the help of a 16-yard catch by Sean McMahan and a Johnson 36-yard reception. The Patriots then bogged down in the red zone and failed to pick up another yard on their next three plays before Blake Darnell blocked a 25-yard field goal by Brent Cimaglia.
After Johnson picked off an ill advised pass by Posey and returned it to the Tiger 39, Page cashed in on the Marshall County miscue and took a 7-0 lead four plays later when Johnson scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge.
The Tigers mounted an immediate response and put together a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive, capped by a nine-yard TD run by Walker, to cut the deficit to 7-6. Caleb Estes missed the extra point to keep the deficit at one.
MCHS takes lead
Cimaglia booted a 32-yard field goal on the Patriots' next offensive series to make it 10-6 with :05 left in the first quarter, but Walker quickly switched the momentum to Marshall County's sideline by sprinting 97 yards to the end zone on the ensuing kickoff. Estes then tacked on the extra point to give the Tigers a 13-10 advantage.
Walker made another big play a few moments later and picked off a pass by Thieman on a Page trick play and returned it 64 yards to set up MCHS at the Patriot 4. The Tigers found pay dirt on the next play, as Brown bulled his way into the end zone to stretch Marshall County's lead to 20-10.
After MCHS stopped Page on downs at the Marshall County 45, Howard caught a short swing pass from Posey and raced 50 yards down to the Patriot 5 before Hill scored on a five-yard touchdown run to stake the Tigers to a 27-10 advantage.
Page advanced to the MCHS 26 on their next drive with the aid of a 23-yard catch by Johnson, but Magochy had the ball jarred loose after scrambling from the pocket before Franklin pounced on the pigskin to give the Tigers possession at their own 21.
It took Marshall County just three plays to traverse the remaining 79 yards to the end zone, as Posey and Howard hooked up for a 42-yard touchdown pass to push MCHS' lead to 34-10 midway through the second quarter.
Cimaglia then missed a 49-yard field goal attempt on the Patriots ensuing drive, before Posey hit Howard for a 67-yad TD strike to give the Tigers a 41-10 cushion.
After Page lost the ball on downs at the MCHS 30, the Tigers ran the two-minute drill to perfection and engineered an eight-play, 70-yard drive that was punctuated by an 11-yard touchdown catch by Pleas with :15 left in the half to take a 48-10 lead into the break.
Marshall County was forced to punt on their opening possession of the second half before the Patriots trimmed the deficit to 48-17 on a three-yard touchdown run by Roberts.
Although they were forced to start their ensuing drive at their own 10 due to a holding penalty on the kickoff, the Tigers quickly marched down the field for a score, as Pleas made a 59-yard catch and run before Crutcher hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Posey three plays later to extend MCHS' lead to 54-17 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Page scored a pair of window dressing touchdowns on a 15-yard run by Blake Rice and a Daniel Callicoat 12-yard catch for the 54-30 final.