Tigers halt Overton
Last season Marshall County (2-0) went into the 4A playoffs just one point away from an unblemished regular season with a one-point loss to 6A John Overton (1-1), but with hard work and determination from the players during the off season the Tigers would not allow the same story to unfold Saturday night in Lewisburg by beating the metro Nashville school 33-19.
"It was a hot night but I feel like the bottom line is we won this game because our conditioning was better than Overton's," MCHS coach Thomas Osteen, who now holds a 19-3 regular season record at Marshall County, said. "We had some guys that might have been getting winded a little bit but the bottom line is we were significantly more in shape than Overton was."
"This game was won at seven a.m. on numerous summer mornings," Osteen continued. "These guys may think that I'm crazy for making them come in so much in the summer but they know why now. This gives credibility that a lot things in our program are going in the right direction."
Overton will be remembered as the offensive coming out party for Fayetteville transfer Cain McWilliams, who led the Tigers with three rushing touchdowns and 95 yards on the ground on just six carries including the pivotal fourth down 56-yard fake punt touchdown run on the series after Overton had taken its first lead of the night at 16-13 heading into halftime.
"Well, the difference (between the Franklin County game) was I got the ball more this game," a grinning McWilliams offered. "I only got one carry last week. But I trusted in the guy's beside me and I trusted in my line and just ran behind them."
The Tigers defense held University of Tennessee commitment Theo Jackson in check for the majority of the game and forced the Bobcats to turn to other sources for offense, a strategy that paid mighty dividends for the Tigers holding Overton to just 19 points a week after putting 41 points on 5A Stewarts Creek.
"I was really just focusing on (Jackson) and giving it all I had," defensive end Tavi McLean, who tied for the team lead with seven tackles, said. "We have been grinding hard in practice and coach has been pushing us to give it the best we can and giving it all we've got."
"It was hard all night but we just fought through by staying focused and staying fit," defensive lineman Tae Tae Lytle, who finished with three tackles and one tackle for a loss, said. "This feels good, we should have beat them last year but they gave us that fake kick. We got them this year though."
The Tigers gave up a safety to start the game on Saturday night, which was rescheduled due to lightning the previous evening, but the defense held on the opening Overton drive of the night to set up the offense for its first score of the evening.
With the drive stalling on third down and eighteen, Bryce Wallace hit Jay Howard for a 17-yard gain and the Tigers rolled the dice on fourth down and were rewarded when Wallace hit Tre Crutcher on a slant over the middle for a 12-yard gain, and two plays later the sophomore quarterback hit Crutcher for the five-yard touchdown catch to reclaim the lead after a Caleb Estes PAT kick.
Theo Jackson sliced through the Tiger defense on the next possession for his first major gain on the night---- a 50-yard quarterback keeper to snatch the lead right back from the Tigers.
Wallace put the Tigers back on top on a quarterback keeper on the next possession, but the Bobcats took a little help from the referees to claim the lead at the half.
The Tigers committed two straight pass interference penalties and a personal foul penalty before Tavarris Travis scored on a three-yard run with 10 seconds left in the half to take the lead at 16-13.
Tigers own half
The second half was all Tigers as McWilliams took over for Marshall County, scoring three times including a clock eating eight-minute drive at the end of third through the middle of the fourth quarter that included three Crutcher catches, three Kamron Liggett runs, and a D'Andre Brown run before McWilliams ran straight through the Overton defense for the 24-yard score.
The senior running back added an exclamation point on the next possession with an eight-yard touchdown run after a bobbled snap to put the game out of reach with just 2:23 left in the contest.
"Being down at halftime we kind of bounced back and realized that losing wasn't an option for anybody on this team so we kinda did our thing after that," Crutcher, who finished with 80 yards on eight catches, said. "It's about competing, whoever wants it the most is going to get it so I felt like I had to compete against them, competed well, and we came out on top."
Defense stands out
The Tigers defense was impressive for the second week in a row, holding several Division I football prospects in check while giving up just 16 points against a team from the highest classification in the state.
"The last two weeks and the preseason we wanted to schedule as many quality opponents as possible," Osteen said. "Overton's gonna be as athletic as anyone we play all year. You can look at the rest of the schedule- East Nashville and Stratford are going to be two awesome football teams, they'll be a lot like Overton was."
"So if we're gonna have a chance to beat those teams we needed to play well against Overton tonight," Osteen added. "But our focus now is on Tullahoma, it's a region game and bottom line is those are the ones that matter the most. So that's what we gotta get ready for."
The Tigers will host Tullahoma Friday at 7 p.m. at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg. The Wildcats (0-2) are coming off of a 33-7 loss at the hands of Franklin County, who Marshall County beat 49-6 in Week One and have not won a game since the 2014 season.
Overton 2 14 3 0-19
MCHS 7 6 7 13-33
Marshall County-Tre Crutcher 5 pass from Bryce Wallace (Caleb Estes good)
Overton -- Theo Jackson 50 run (Jose Bravo kick)
Marshall County-Wallace 7 run (kick failed)
Overton-Taverius Travis 4 run (Bravo kick)
MCHS-Cain McWilliams 57 run (Estes kick)
Overton -Bravo 31 FG
MCHS-McWilliams 24 run (run failed)
MCHS-McWilliams 8 run (Estes kick)
Marshall County-Rushing 241 yards, passing 127 yards
Rushing-Cain McWilliams 6-95-3TD, Kamron Liggett 12-68, D'Andre Brown 10-39, Jay Howard 2-21, Bryce Wallace 8-18-TD
Passing-Bryce Wallace 13-17-127-TD (no interceptions)
Receiving-Tre Crutcher 8-80-TD, Jay Howard 4-30, D'Andre Brown 1-17
Tackles-D'Andre Brown 7, Kamron Liggett 7, Tavi Mclean 7, Donathon Tears 6, JQ Haislip 5, Cain McWilliams 5 (sack), Hunter Cummings 4, Keevon Maxwell 3, Josh Johnson 3, Tae Tae Lyttle 3, Jayshon Wilcox 3, Tre Fields 2, Miciah Glover 1, Billy Cheek 1, Tristan Maxwell 1
Extra points-Caleb Estes 3-4
Punts-Dagon Stacy 3-74
Turnovers-Marshall County 1, Overton 0