Season reaches halfway point
With five games down and five more to go in the regular season, the three county prep squads begin the downward march to the playoffs with the Marshall County Tigers and Forrest Rockets in great shape, while the Cornersville Bulldogs still have some work to do to improve their chances.
After a convincing 36-13 win at Spring Hill Friday night, the AP No. 10 ranked Tigers have won three in a row with the average margin of victory in the three games at a huge 26.3 points per game.
MCHS is a balanced offensive juggernaut with junior signal caller Ashton Posey lighting up the air with 1,283 yards and 11 touchdowns, while the running game is just as impressive as the Tigers have amassed 1,239 yards.
Along with Posey's offensive output, the Tigers have Chris Walker, who has 725 all-purpose yards on the season with 659 on the ground with 10 touchdowns, while the senior multi-purpose star and Class 4A Mr. Football hopeful has also caught six Posey passes, including a pair of scores.
Walker added another score on an electric 80-yard touchdown return against Independence.
Add in 437 receiving yards and four touchdowns by sophomore Jay Howard, plus 358 yards and four more scores by senior Kacy Pleas and what you have is an offensive squad almost impossible to game plan for and that will be a huge problem this week for Franklin County (2-2).
The Thomas Osteen-led Tigers (4-1, 2-0) have won three in a row and look for the streak to continue Friday night when they run and pass their way to a 45-21 win over the Rebels at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
The Forrest Rockets celebrated a huge 21-7 win at Eagleville for just a little while last week before their attention turned to their Homecoming match-up this week versus Page at "The Rock."
The non-conference game versus the Patriots (2-2) will be a big test for the Rockets, who will be looking for revenge after a close 27-24 loss in Rudderville last year.
Page is a pass-happy team and not exactly the perfect match-up for the hard-nosed Rocket defense that has only given up 21 points in their last three games and specializes at stopping the run first, but sometimes is a little suspect in pass defense.
Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky is also the defensive coordinator and look for the first-year head coach to come up with a solid game plan to slow down the Patriots aerial attack.
Hard to stop
The Patriots' defense should be the ones who are worried about stopping an offense led by senior running back Zach McClendon, who continues to pile up the rushing yards for the Rockets (4-1, 2-0).
Take away the season-opening loss at Lauderdale County and McClendon is averaging almost a first down (9.9 yards) every time he touches the ball.
McClendon has a great shot at going over 1,000 yards on the season during his senior Homecoming night, needing 157 yards to eclipse the mark.
In Eagleville, McClendon added the second of his two receiving touchdowns on the season to go along with his 10 scores in the ground game.
This could be a trap game for AP No. 10 Forrest, who may be looking just a little ahead to their district showdown in Huntland (3-1, 1-0) next week, but the fiery Kriesky-led bunch of Rockets are healthy and in a groove that will continue this week as the play bad Homecoming hosts to the Patriots via a 35-14 thrashing.
The Cornersville Bulldogs (1-4, 1-1) have lost two in a row and their offense has sputtered in the two set backs, as they have not scored more than 14 points since their big 54-24 win at Richland three weeks ago.
It's also Homecoming in Frog Bottom this week for the Bulldogs, who will play host to Zion Christian Academy (2-2).
Both teams beat Richland and the other common opponent on their schedules this season is Huntland, who beat Cornersville 28-18 on opening day, while Hornets smashed the Eagles 56-34 last week in Columbia.
Cornersville is having some depth issues, wearing down late in games, but the Bulldogs will be on cloud nine this week, running on the Homecoming adrenaline and the great coaching by John Denton.
Quarterback Jamie Crowell is a solid football player and he can sling the ball with anyone and the Bulldogs compliment the pass well with the bruising running back Chance Dyer, who should have plenty of daylight to run through this week as Cornersville returns to its winning ways with a 41-28 win over the Eagles.