Tigers move toward goals

Friday, August 7, 2015
Senior quarterback Ashton Posey (19) has looked good all summer and is poised for a big season. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Teamwork shows against Lipscomb

After a recruiting violation that was announced this week, Marshall County's football team is moving forward as a unit and it showed Tuesday night at David Lipscomb Academy.

"Number one, we were looking for improvement from Friday," Coach Thomas Osteen said. "We played a solid Fairview football team and we were a little sloppy, but that's expected in that first scrimmage.

All-State wide receiver Jay Howard hauls in a pass and heads for the end zone for a touchdown Tuesday night at Lipscomb Academy.

"I thought we improved tonight. David Lipscomb is always a good football team and a physical football team, so coming up here at their place and putting up a good showing makes you happy as a coach."

Two-year penalty

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association penalized Marshall County for two years because an assistant coach gave an incoming freshman a ride to practice on July 9.

Tight end Darius McKenzie (18) sheds the Mustangs defense for a touchdown.

The athlete in question was not penalized and is eligible to participate in all activities. The coach, however, will be suspended two weeks and won't be on the sidelines for two varsity contests.

The penalties, all self-imposed and accepted by the TSSAA, also include a $1,000 fine, the loss of one fall scrimmage this season and one spring scrimmage while the number of spring practices will be reduced to six.

"We're just going to come to work everyday," Osteen said. "We have a family, a team and a coaching staff that wants to be a program that does the right things all the time.

Marshall County head coach Thomas Osteen (left) has a laugh with assistant John Denton during the scrimmage Tuesday night.

"That's what we preach to our kids every day, so we're going to put our nose down and do the right thing and let everything else take care of itself."

Good shape

The Tigers were poised all the way around and looked in great physical shape on Tuesday night against the Mustangs.

Junior cornerback JQ Haislip (27) comes up to make a tackle on the Mustangs ball carrier.

"We've been going four days all summer in the heat trying to prepare for the first part of the season where the first two or three weeks where over half the game is won on conditioning alone," the coach said. "If we're not in good condition it's my fault, so at least we're going to be able to run and I think it showed tonight."

Senior quarterback Ashton Posey looked good after settling in and hit touchdown passes to wide receiver Jay Howard and tight end Darius McKenzie, while running for another score.

"Ashton has worked so hard and he wants to show the work he's put in and how much he's improved," Osteen said. "He's had a great summer and he's going to be just fine for us."

Senior running Josh Franklin (22) tucks in behind senior offensive linemen Steven Clemmons (70) and Jonathan Johnson (79) for a nice gain.

McKenzie, who is up to 225 pounds this season, can be a dominant player with his size, speed and hands.

"He's gotten better from last year and we still want him to improve his physical point of play, but he's a tough match-up on the outside," Osteen said. "He looks like an NFL tight end playing high school football."

Deep lines

Marshall County also has a nice stable of running backs and has some great size and depth on the offensive and defensive lines.

"Our depth on the 'O' line and 'D' line is the most I've ever been a part of, we have six or seven guys who can play on both sides, so we have some exciting depth," the Tigers head coach said.

The skill positions will be the strength of the squad this season and the Tigers have already shown what they can do this preseason in 7-on-7 drills, winning the Riverdale and MTSU tournaments, and finishing second at the Ravenwood event.

"It's not per say real football, but it is real competition," Osteen said of the passing competitions. "it's about battling through the heat to get better.

"We're very happy about our 7-on-7 season, we won two tournaments and finished runners-up in another versus 5A and 6A schools, so we loved to see our guys compete versus that kind of competition."


Marshall County hosts Pope John Paul II in a Jamboree on Aug. 14 with the gates at Preston Hopkins Field opening at 5 p.m.

The Marshall County Youth Football League will be on the field at 5:30, a pep rally will follow that action and kickoff for the varsity squad will be at 7 p.m.

The junior varsity squad also will be in action against Pope John Paul II.

"I'm pumped, this is the best time of the year and we're excited to get it going and nervous all at the same time, especially because we have a lot of experience coming back that should pay some good dividends," Osteen said.

Season nears

The Tigers open the season at home on Aug. 21 against Franklin County before two weeks on the road against John Overton and Tullahoma, respectively.

MCHS is in Class 4A, Region 4 with Giles County, Lawrence County, Page, Spring Hill and Tullahoma.

After the scrimmage, the Tigers lined up and did some running with Osteen saying, "We think about Xs and Os and techniques all the time, but in the end, all that doesn't matter if we don't play as a team and we did some things this week that had nothing to do with football that detracted from our team and our family, so we addressed those things after our scrimmage."