Tigers, Liggett overpower Raiders
It was a soggy and rainy Homecoming night at Spring Hill Friday night, but that didn't stop the fourth-ranked Marshall County Tigers, who started slow before running away with a 49-6 win over the Raiders.
"As a coach, you are always worried about when you take two weeks off and how you will come out," Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen said about the early rust from the bye week. "We were a little rusty to start the game, but Spring Hill has a lot to do with that because they have good players on both sides of the ball."
"We made some adjustments at halftime and I think we physically took over the game in the second half."
MCHS junior running back Kamron Liggett left a multitude of Spring Hill defenders stuck in the mud, putting up 311 yards of total offense.
"The line did a good job of opening up holes and they made it really easy for me, so when I got the ball I just did what I was supposed to in finding the holes and running for the touchdowns." Liggett said."
Liggett rushed for 231 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns on the ground, while catching three passes for 80 yards, including a 76-yard swing pass score in the fourth quarter.
"Kamron is a phenomenal player," Osteen said. "Our offensive line played phenomenal tonight. Blair Conger at left tackle played really well and Tristan Maxwell at left guard opened some huge holes."
Liggett, who was just four yards short of 1,000 last year has 710 yards rushing and 282 receiving for the season and leads the Tigers with 15 touchdowns.
"It's fun, I like nothing more than scoring touchdowns, especially when I break those long runs," Liggett said. "We were definitely the better conditioned team tonight."
Quarterback Bryce Wallace, who has come back strong after struggling in the Tigers' only loss of the season at Stratford, threw for 233 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 13-for-17 effort behind center.
Spring Hill actually held a short-lived 6-0 lead when TJ Ennis found Justin Oden on a 22-yard touchdown pass that Oden went up and made a great catch over a Marshall County defender with 11:38 remaining in the first half.
"He (Oden) got it in the end zone and I just told him good catch," senior MCHS cornerback JQ Haislip said. "I thought he pushed me a little bit, but it is what it is."
From there it was all Tigers, who scored 42 unanswered points, beginning with a Tre Crutcher 31-yard circus catch touchdown reception from Wallace.
Caleb Estes, who went 6-for-6 on extra points kicks in the game, booted the PAT to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead.
The Marshall County defense settled in and stopped the Raiders, taking over on downs at the Tiger 23-yard line.
MCHS marched down the field and with just under five minutes left in the first half, Cain McWilliams raced 21 yards for a touchdown.
Spring Hill could not answer, punting after three plays on offense and the Tigers failed to score on their last drive of the first half, taking an eight-point lead to the locker room.
Marshall County got the ball first in the second half and needed just two plays to score again as Liggett took a second down handoff from Wallace and raced 47 yards for his first touchdown of the contest.
Spring Hill was forced to punt again and this time, Liggett went to the house from 54 yards out on the first snap of the series, making it 28-6 with 8:07 remaining in the third period.
The Raiders, stuck in neutral on offense had to punt after three plays and the Tigers mounted the back breaking drive that sealed the game, marching 43 yards in just eight plays, capped off by Liggett's third consecutive TD via an 18-yard run.
"We knew we wanted to keep it on them and make them regret the Homecoming," Haislip said. "We played great 'D' the whole game, communicated on the field and with the coaches and got the job done."
Spring Hill was forced to throw and it cost them when Donathon Tears picked off Ennis with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter and the Tigers cashed in as Wallace found Jay Howard on a second down swing pass that the senior receiver deposited in the Raiders' end zone for a 42-7 lead, invoking the TSSAA 35-point mercy rule that initiated a running clock with 2:46 left in the third period.
Tears got his second interception of the game early in the fourth quarter and on the first play after the pick, Liggett caught a swing pass from Wallace and carved up the Spring Hill defense, racing 76 yards for the score.
The Raiders got a late touchdown to cement the final score at 49-6.
"If we are going to be a team that wins playoff games, you have to be great defensively and run the football and we did both those things pretty well tonight," Osteen said.
The Tigers (7-1, 4-0) host #10 Maplewood (6-2, 3-1) at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg Friday night before travelling to Page (5-2, 4-0) next week in a game that will decide the Region 4/4A title.
"The game at Page in two weeks will be for the region championship, so I am excited about that," Osteen said. "It will be our senior night next week, Maplewood is a phenomenal football team and our kids know how hard that game was last year when they outplayed us and came away with it at the end."
Marshall County 0 14 28 7-49
Spring Hill 0 6 0 6-12
Spring Hill- Justin Oden 22 pass from T.J. Ennis, PAT blocked, 11:38
Marshall County-Tre Crutcher 31 pass from Bryce Wallace, Caleb Estes PAT, 10:31
Marshall County-Cain McWilliams 21 run, Estes PAT, 4:48
Marshall County-Kamron Liggett 47 run, Estes PAT, 11:14
Marshall County-Liggett 54 run, Estes PAT, 8:07
Marshall County-Liggett 18 run, Estes PAT, 4:13
Marshall County-Jay Howard 29 pass from Wallace, Estes PAT, 2:46
Marshall County-Liggett 76 pass from Wallace, Estes PAT, 10:49
Spring Hill-Jahmal Steele16 run, PAT NG, 5:41
Total Offense-Passing 253, Rushing 255
Passing-Bryce Wallace 13-17-233-3TD, Malik Thomison 3-3-22
Receiving-Jay Howard 7-96-TD, Kamron Liggett 3-80-TD, Tre Crutcher 3-57-TD, Caleb Darnell 1-18, Javarria Rucker 1-11, Devon Wilson 1-(-7)
Rushing-Kamron Liggett 16-231-3TD, Cain McWilliams 3-14-TD, Elijah Taylor 2-5, Malik Thomison 1-2, Bryce Wallace 3-1, Devon Wilson 1-0
Tackles-Tavi Mclean 9, Cain McWilliams 7, JQ Haislip 6, Miciah Greer 6, D'Andre Brown 6 (INT), Tae Tae Lyttle 6, Jayshon Wilcox 5, Josh Johnson 4, Hunter Cummings 4, Trent Richardson 3, Tre Fields 3, Donathon Tears 3 (2INT), Jackson Boyd 2, Billy Cheek 1, Bennett Flemming 1, Tristan Maxwell 1, Devon Wilson 1, Marcus McCord 1
PAT-Caleb Estes 6-6, Edgar Martinez 1-1
Punting-Dagon Stacey 1-21