Tigers punish Page in classic showdown
All eyes were on Lewisburg Friday night as media outlets from all over the Mid-State showed up for the battle of Region 4-4A, pitting longtime rivals Page and Marshall County in a championship match with the winner gaining a top seed and home field advantage through at least the first two games of the playoffs.
Page (7-3, 4-1) managed to score first in each half, but the game was never in doubt for Marshall County (9-1, 5-0) as it cruised its first region title in 13 years with a 42-24 victory.
Gassed and ready
"This feels awesome," Tigers coach Thomas Osteen said. "Being here for two years, knowing where we started and knowing where we are right now, it's so gratifying that all the pieces have been put into place.
"This time last year we didn't have as much gas left in the tank and I feel like right now we have a whole lot of gas left in the tank. I'm just really excited."
Page gained control of the momentum early when Dylan Meyers intercepted the Tigers Ashton Posey on the first drive. Page senior quarterback Matt Magochey turned the error into points with a 2-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead for Page.
"I just told the guys,'That play is behind us. It's in the past,'" Posey said. "We go and play the rest of the game and don't let that it get us down. If we let that get us down we aren't going to win."
The Tigers quikcly seized the momentum on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff when Kamron Liggett broke free for a 65-yard score and a 7-6 lead following the conversion kick by Caleb Estes.
"This means a lot because not everyone has the chance (win the region)," Liggett said. "To know that we'ved worked hard all year and we earned what we got. This helps us with confidence going into the playoffs."
Liggett led the Tigers with more than 100 yards rushing and additional TDs covering 11 and 2 yards in the first half alone.
"We started out slow, but once they scored we brought out the energy and once that happened it was impossible for us to lose," senior Iendi Biggers said. "We've been thinking about winning this game all week."
After Liggett added his other two scoring runs for a 21-6 lead, Magochey tallied again on a 2-yard run to make it 21-12 late in the first half. Jay Howard, however, got the points right back for the Tigers when he sprinted 31 yards for a touchdown run with just 14 seconds left in the half for a 28-12 lead.
The Patriots came out of halftime with a spark picking off another Posey pass en route to two straight scores to cut the margin to 28-24.
"I just had to tell the defense that we've done this before," Peyton Hood said. "We just have to settle down and be us."
The Tigers once again but the needed distance between themselves and Page with a 10 yard Posey to Tre Crutcher touchdown play for a 35-24 edge.
"I just know I'm going to be able to get open," said Crutcher, who finished with 158 yards receiving on nine catches. "I don't mean to sound cocky, but I don't think anyone in this region can guard me."
Posey scored on a 2-yard run to squelch any thought of a Patriots comeback and seal the issue.
"We talk about playing to our standard all the time," Osteen said. "We told them that they earned this win tonight. Everyone is coming to see them because they've put themselves in this position. I'm glad we were able to battle through this adversity tonight."
Posey finished 20-for-24 for 234 yards and the touchdown. Liggett, just a sophomore, led the running with 145 yards while Howard had 88 and Josh Franklin 75.
Steven Dangerfield led the defense with nine tackles, while fellow seniors Tanner Clark and Zach Johnson each chipped in with eigjt.
The Tigers will now look to the TSSAA state playoffs where they will face a Cumberland County (5-5) at 7 p.m. Friday.
"I've been around this thing long enough to know that any team can win in the playoffs," Osteen said. "Don't know much about them yet, but they're in the playoffs and that's anyone's game."
Page 6 6 12 0 -- 24
Marshall County 7 21 7 7 -- 42
P -- Michael Magochy 2 run (kick failed)
M -- Kamron Liggett 65 run (Caleb Estes kick)
M -- Liggett 11 run (Estes kick)
M -- Liggett 2 run (Estes kick)
P -- Magochy 2 run (kick failed)
M -- Jay Howard 31 run (Estes kick)
P -- Magochy 8 run (pass failed)
P -- Michael Roberts 1 run (kick failed)
M -- Tre Crutcher 14 pass from Ashton Posey (Estes kick)
M -- Posey 2 run (Marvin Jaimes kick)