Tigers bounce back with 50-0 shutout
The Marshall County Tigers returned home to Preston Hopkins Field for Homecoming Friday night after losing its first game of the season against Stratford the previous week and despite Lawrence County's hopes of a letdown, the Tigers proved to be strong as ever with a 50-0 win over the Wildcats.
"This was huge because it's a region win and our whole position at the end of the year is predicated on region games," Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen said. "We had a real bad taste in our mouth last week, we didn't play our best and I still think we have a ton of room for improvement, but I think you can tell we've improved from last week to this week."
After giving up a season high 28 points in the Stratford loss the Tigers were nearly perfect on the defensive end by giving up 78 total offensive yards on the night and allowing just one pass completion in the shutout.
Defense in control
"Defensively we were lights out tonight," Osteen added. "I feel like our front seven controlled the entire football game. Tackled well, ran to the football well and just a really good team win."
The Tigers were led in tackles by Donathan Tears for the second game this season with six, Hunter Cummings and Trent Richardson added five each, and Jay Howard, playing defense for the first time this season, came up with an interception.
"We never give up and we had a bad taste in our mouth from last week," Howard, who led the Tigers with 127 all-purpose yards, said. "We came out with a bang and wanted to have a great senior Homecoming. This is my last one so I'm glad we came out with the 50-0 win."
The defensive front line of Tavi McLean, Josh Johnson, Tae Tae Lytle, and Jayshon Wilcox, which held the Wildcats to just 71 rushing yards, combined for 14 tackles, with Lytle adding a tackle for a loss.
"We didn't want to lose that game at Stratford, but we did so we worked hard all week," Wilcox stated. "We got better and we worked on our defensive errors and I think with how the game ended tonight we fixed those errors."
The offense bounced back in a huge way from the season-low 21 points against Stratford with 400 yards of total offense led by junior running back Kamron Liggett's three rushing touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Bryce Wallace's 220 passing yards, two touchdowns and just six incompletions.
"Adding more stuff to the playbook (has allowed growth), (Thomas) Osteen helping me out and Bo (Wallace) helping me out," Wallace, who has shown improvement every game this season, said. "We do a lot of film study. Every Wednesday and Thursday Bo comes over and we go over every play we have in for that week and every look we could get. I really owe it all to them."
"The lineman play really hard and a bunch of guys that really don't get their name called all that much, Matt Runions, Dagon Stacey or Noah Jorgensen, you can always see them out on the perimeter blocking and that's really big for me," Wallace continued. "I can get the ball out to Tre (Crutcher) or Jay (Howard) in open space and they can do what they do and we can't do that without those guys out there working."
The Tigers looked a little hungover from the Stratford loss during the opening quarter, going four and out the first two possessions of the game but on fourth-and-seven on the third drive, Wallace hit Crutcher for a 10-yard gain to set up Liggett's first touchdown with 16 seconds left in the first.
On the next possession a 48-yard Crutcher catch set up a 17-yard Cain McWilliams touchdown and with five minutes remaining in the half Wallace finally connected with Crutcher in the end zone for the third touchdown in seven minutes.
Liggett scored his second touchdown of the contest on the next possession and what was a closer than expected first quarter turned into business as usual heading into the half with a 28-0 lead.
The clock was running for most of the second half as touchdowns from Wallace to Howard and Liggett's third of the night on the ground set up the third and final touchdown of the night from backup quarterback Malik Thomison, who ran three times for 34 yards before finally crossing the plane and the 50-0 win.
All facets of the game were clicking including special teams, led by kicker Caleb Estes who sent five of eight kickoffs into the end zone for touch backs and 6-for-6 point after touchdowns, plus a 2-for-2 effort from backup freshman kicker Edgar Martinez.
"Obviously we have an explosive offense so it's really good to be able to pin the other team deep," Estes said. "And all the kickoffs were either in the end zone or we were tackling them inside the 20."
The Tigers take a much needed break with a bye week before a road trip showdown against a much improved Spring Hill (4-2, 1-2) team.
"I love where the bye week comes at because we've played seven football games," Osteen said. "I don't like it at the end of the year because it can get you out of rhythm before the playoffs. I feel like this comes at the perfect time for us."
Lawrence County 0 0 0 0-0
Marshall County 7 21 15 7-50
Total Offense-Marshall County 400, Lawrence County 78
Passing-Marshall County 266, Lawrence County 7
Rushing-Marshall County 134, Lawrence County 71
Marshall County Offense
Passing-Bryce Wallace 13-19-220-2TD, Malik Thomison 4-4-46
Receiving-Tre Crutcher 6-120-TD, Jay Howard 6-90-TD, Jackson Boyd 2-28, Kamron Liggett 1-14, JQ Haislip 1-10, Javarria Rucker 1-4, Dagon Stacey 1-0
Rushing-Kamron Liggett 8-76-3TD, Malik Thomison 3-34-TD, Cain McWilliams 3-23-TD, Bryce Wallace 2-2, Elijah Taylor 3-1, Jay Howard 1-(-2)
Tackles-Donathan Tears 6, Hunter Cummings 5, Trent Richardson 5, Bennett Flemming 4, Josh Johnson 4, Tae Tae Lyttle 4, Cain McWilliams 4, JQ Haislip 4, Jayshon Wilcox 3, Tavi Mclean 3, Kyrese Harris 2, Jackson Boyd 1, Miciah Greer 1, Jay Howard 1, Keylin Talley 1, Nathan Fuller 1, Tez Allen 1
Sacks-Cain McWilliams 2, Tae Tae Lyttle 1
Interceptions-Jay Howard 1
Kickoffs-Matt Runions 1-0
Punts-Jay Howard 1-9, Tre Crutcher 1-0
PAT-Caleb Estes 4-4, Edgar Martinez 2-2
Punting-Dagon Stacey 2-48