Tigers punish Stratford 42-8
After suffering a 42-14 loss to a powerful Christ Presbyterian Academy team seven days earlier, the Marshall County Tigers (7-2) got back to their winning ways on Friday night by defeating Stratford 42-8 on the road to record their second straight victory over the Spartans (1-8).
The Tigers controlled the game from start to finish and built a 21-0 lead in the first half before outscoring the Spartans 21-8 over the final two quarters to pull away for the 34-point win.
Back on course
"I think we handled this situation pretty well. We got that bad taste out of our mouth from the CPA game and beat a pretty athletic Stratford team while playing in a difficult environment," said MCHS coach Thomas Osteen.
Thanks to Friday's triumph, Marshall County is still in position to earn a high seed in the Class 4A playoffs, but must defeat archrival Giles County to finish in sole possession of second place in the District standings.
The showdown against the Bobcats also puts Osteen on the other side of the heated rivalry for the first time after he served as an assistant coach at Giles County for six years and helped them compile a 6-1 record against the Tigers.
"It will definitely be weird for a second at the start of the game, but in the end it's still a football game. Both schools have good programs and it's always fun to compete in big games," said Osteen.
Hundreds of yards
Despite committing four turnovers, the Tigers still racked up 371 yards of total offense in the contest.
The Tigers had trouble running the ball consistently and finished with a modest 106 yards rushing on 31 carries, but quarterback Ashton Posey compensated for that by completing 13-of-19 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown to go along with two interceptions. Backup signal caller Tanner Clark also attempted two passes, completing one for 20 yards.
Senior tailback Chris Walker once again had a major impact on the game for the Tigers and accounted for four of MCHS' six touchdowns. Along with rushing for a team high 80 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, Walker returned three punts for 114 yards and two TDs.
Posey toted the ball four times for 28 yards and a touchdown as well, while Pleas added 11 yards on three carries.
Caleb Fields was Marshall County's leading receiver and hauled in four passes for 92 yards. Jay Howard and Kacy Pleas each had four catches as well for 88 and 66 yards respectively with Howard scoring once. Curtis Keiler also had one catch for 10 yards.
Facing a team that was averaging just 14.7 points per game coming into Friday's contest, the Tigers added to Stratford's offensive woes and limited the Spartans to just 185 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers.
Stratford did have some success on the ground and rushed for 176 yards on 32 carries, but accomplished little through the air, as quarterback Robert Lilley-Sneed completed just 2-of-9 passes for nine yards and tossed two interceptions. Cameron Woodruff led the Spartans' ground game by rushing for 122 yards on 14 carries.
Cale Shelton paced Marshall County's defense with 11 tackles and Peyton Hood registered 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. Noah Adams, Walker, and Dontae Baugh notched seven tackles apiece as well with Adams recovering a fumble, while Prentice Davis had six tackles. Antonio Shelton and Tre Crutcher also recorded interceptions for the Tigers.
Marshall County grabbed an early 7-0 lead when Walker scored on a three-yard touchdown run while Caleb Estes tacked on the extra point.
The Tigers then opened up a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to an eight-yard TD run by Walker, but missed the two-point conversion attempt.
In the second quarter, Posey scored on an eight-yard touchdown jaunt before Shelton ran in the two-point conversion to stake MCHS to a 21-0 lead at the half.
The Tigers' special teams got into the act in the third quarter when Walker returned a punt 34 yards for a touchdown midway through the stanza. Josh Franklin then found Gunner Southerland in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt to stretch Marshall County's lead to 29-0.
Stratford trimmed the deficit to 29-8 late in the third quarter on the strength of a 56-yard touchdown romp by Stevon Rose and a Lilly-Sneed two-point conversion pass, but Walker hit the Spartans with another big play early in the fourth period when he returned a punt 70 yards for a score to give MCHS a 35-8 advantage.
Posey then hit Howard for a 27-yard touchdown strike a few minutes later to cap the Tigers' 42-8 triumph.