Tigers roll over Spring Hill
One little piece of fall break rust was chipped off before Marshall County put a big whipping on Spring Hill, routing the Raiders 59-21 Friday night in front of a packed house at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
"Anytime you take two weeks off you want, number one to get better, get healed and not get out of rhythm," Tigers coach Thomas Osteen said. "We came out fast, we weren't rusty and we were dialed in because we had a great week of practice."
The fourth-ranked Tigers continued with their season-long prolific performance on offense, putting up 658 total yards.
Spreading it around
"We want the offense to spread the ball around and make the opposing defense defend the field," Osteen said. "Everybody is playing to their capacity, so it is really fun to see."
Senior quarterback Ashton Posey continued his incredible campaign, tossing three touchdowns and rushing for two more.
"We were just going to run the ball real hard and see what their weaknesses were," Posey said. "Then we were going to pass a lot and hit some long balls because they were in man coverage."
Posey, who virtual lock for a Mr. Football nomination in the state, accumulated 420 yards of total offense with 358 passing yards on a 21-for-30 performance, while rushing nine times for 62 yards.
"I love my linemen to death," Posey said. "They block real well for me and I give them all the props tonight."
Posey's favorite target, Tre Crutcher returned from injury and never lost a beat, giving the Raiders' defensive backs fits as he hauled in six passes for 137 yards, including a spectacular 29-yard circus catch that set up the Tigers' first score.
"Hats off to Ashton, he had another fantastic night," Osteen said.
Last year's Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State wide receiver Jay Howard used his versatility to hurt Spring Hill, grabbing eight passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Kamron Liggett gave the Tigers an extra spark with 133 all-purpose yards, including a bruising rushing score and great touchdown catch in the third quarter that put the game away.
Spring Hill standout quarterback Tylin Oden, who scored two rushing touchdowns in the game, was bottled up most of the night by a stout Tigers defense.
Oden rushed the ball 11 times for 97 yards and completed 10-of-20 passes for 131 yards.
"He made some plays tonight, but our defense hit him hard and often and that's what we wanted to do," Osteen said.
Oden scored an 8-yard TD on the Raiders' opening possession of the game before Marshall County scored on a 1-yard Posey run and a Liggett 2-yard bulldozing rush to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead after the first quarter.
Points come easily
Posey scored his second touchdown with just more than seven minutes left in the first half, and after a Spring Hill punt, Marshall County drove 78 yards in eight plays, capped off by Howard's 8-yard touchdown off a swing pass.
The Tigers came up big on defense late in the first half, stopping the Raiders on downs with 50 seconds remaining.
Posey showed his prowess, guiding the Tigers down the field where Caleb Estes drilled a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the first half for a 31-7 cushion.
The Raiders came up with an onside kick to begin the second half and it looked like Oden would score on a long run, but the Spring Hill quarterback fumbled at the goal line and Steven Dangerfield recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
The Tigers converted the miscue into points when Posey found Liggett at the left pylon for a 28-yard touchdown with with 8:53 left in the period, taking all the air out of the Spring Hill balloon.
Into the groove
"We don't have a one-man team, it's everybody contributing," Liggett said. "We didn't start out the way we'd like, but once we got in the groove we finished them. We knew we could beat Spring Hill, but we also knew we'd have to play our best to do it."
Oden responded with a touchdown scamper after the MCHS score making it 38-14.
Howard caught a touchdown pass with 4:58 remaining in the third period and JQ Haislip scored on a 3-yard TD run early in the fourth to make it a 52-14 contest, bringin on a running clock.
Donte Smith's 85-yard TD run capped off the scoring on the night for Spring Hill and the Tigers scored their final points on a Bryce Wallace 49-yard strike to Matt Runions with 2:58 left.
On the road
Marshall County (7-1, 4-0) travels to Maplewood (2-6, 1-3) this week for a non-conference game before returning home to play for the Region 4A title against Page (6-2, 4-0) on Oct. 30.
"We're happy to be playing in a region championship game for the second year in a row, but bottom line is that's still two weeks away and we have to get ready for a very good and very athletic Maplewood team," Osteen said.
Spring Hill 7 0 7 7 -- 21
Marshall County 14 17 14 14 -- 59
S -- Tylin Oden 8 run (Ethan Hultgren kick), 10:42.
M -- Ashton Posey 1 run (Caleb Estes kick), 9:41
M -- Kamron Liggett 2 run (Estes kick), 5:37.
M -- Posey 4 run (Estes kick), 7:14.
M -- Jay Howard 8 pass from Posey (Estes kick), 2:53.
M -- Estes 26 field goal, 0.00.
M -- Liggett 28 pass from Posey (Estes kick), 8:53
S-Odin 47 run (Hultgren kick), 6:16.
M -- Howard 36 pass from Posey (Estes kick), 4:58.
M -- JQ Haislip 3 run (Estes kick), 11:03
S -- Donte Smith 85 run (Hultgren kick), 4:36
M -- Matt Runions 49 pass from Bryce Wallace (Estes kick), 2:58.
Total Yards: 658 (177 rush, 481 pass).
Rushing: Ashton Posey 9-62, 2TD, Kamron Liggett 5-53, TD, Josh Franklin 8-36, JQ Haislip 4-22, Bryce Wallace 3-3.
Passing: Ashton Posey 21-30-358, 3TD, Bryce Wallace 3-3-123, TD.
Receiving: Tre Crutcher 6-137, Jay Howard 8-97, 2TD, Kamron Liggett 3-80, TD, Matt Runions 1-49, TD, Josh Franklin 2-44, Darius Mckenzie 1-27, Montrell Harris 2-26, Curtis Keiler 1-21.
Turnovers: Marshall County 1, Spring Hill 1.
Tackles: JQ Haislip 8 (sack), Curtis Keiler 8, Tanner Clark 6, Zach Johnson 6 (blocked punt), Tavi Mclean 5, Hunter Cummings 5, Iendi Biggers 4, Prentice Davis 4 (sack), Payton Hood 4, Jayson Wilcox 3, Blair Conger 3, Donathon Tears 3, Malik Harris 2, Steven Dangerfield 2 (fumble recovery), Trent Richardson 2, Tristan Maxwell 2, Tae tae Lyttle 2, Savon Cash 1, Josh Franklin 1, Tre Fields 1, Miciah Greer 1.