Tigers blank Bobcats, to host Raiders next
One of the hardest accomplishments to achieve in the game of football is to beat the same opponent two times in one season and to make the game even more difficult the Marshall County Tigers had to beat one of its all-time rivals, Giles County to advance to the 4A quarterfinals in the TSSAA state playoffs for the second season in a row.
Now the Tigers have to tackle that feat two weeks in a row as Marshall County demolished the Bobcats 45-0 and will host Spring Hill next Friday.
The Tigers beat the Raiders 49-12 during week eight of the regular season.
"I'm thrilled with our whole program, I mean this was a dominating win," MCHS coach Thomas Osteen, who is 5-2 all-time in the playoffs at Marshall County said. "I felt like all three phases of the game we outperformed our opponent offensively, defensively, and the kicking game. I felt it showed our program is three years in to weight lifting and refining our fundamentals and (Giles) is in the first year of a new coaching staff. I knew they would be prepared tonight, but I really feel that our total program kind of flexed its muscles tonight."
The Tigers' defense continued its domination, beating its last three opponents 142-0, while not allowing a Bobcat first down until midway through the second quarter and producing three three-and-outs to start the game.
"Coach (Jerry) Cobb and the rest of the staff----they're really consistent with how they keep their calls the same and every week we have a different game plan," Trent Richardson, who added six tackles and one tackle for a loss, said. "They just tell us what to do and we just execute it as a team."
The win was an all-around team effort as the Tigers got two touchdowns from Tennessee Titans Mr. Football 4A Lineman of the Year finalist Cain McWilliams, a rushing touchdown from Kamron Liggett, a touchdown reception from Jay Howard, an interception return for a touchdown by D'Andre Brown, a kickoff return for a touchdown by Tre Crutcher, plus a field goal by Caleb Estes.
"Tonight was just a very hype night," McWilliams, who led the Tiger rushing attack with 61 yards, said. "Everybody gave us motivation at the first of the week to try and get us right for the game tonight. Everybody just played their role and everybody just stepped up and played big."
The Tigers wasted little time getting on the board as Brown ran for a 23-yard gain before Liggett powered into the end zone for the 7-0 lead following the Estes extra point.
The Tigers uncharacteristically turned the ball over on the next two drives, starting with a rare Bryce Wallace interception and after a Giles County three-and-out, the Tigers ran down to the 26-yard line before a Liggett fumble turned the ball over the Bobcats to allow the game to stay close throughout the first half.
"Hats off to Giles County, they were playing really good defensively in the first half," Osteen said. "I hate that we squandered those two early opportunities, but anytime you've got a defense like ours you don't have to press too much, you can still play it tight to the vest and let the game come to you."
Cain McWilliams came through on the next series with a 20-yard touchdown run before the half to put the Tigers up 14-0 heading into the break.
Crutcher blew the game wide open on the first play after the break when the wide receiver took the opening kickoff of the second half 77-yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 21-0 lead.
"When I came up I thought the kick was catchable, so I let it bounce and I knew the kickoff was coming left because I've seen that on film so I cut back, followed Jay (Howard) and I bumped off somebody and it was just an open gap and a touchdown from there," Crutcher said.
Out of reach
The Tigers tacked on another McWilliams touchdown before a spectacular Brown defensive play finally put the game out of reach.
With the Bobcats driving, Brown picked off a John Bacchus pass and took the ball 26 yards into the end zone for the 35-0 lead with 2:28 left in the third period.
"I was back pedaling, I kind of bit in, thought he was going to run a slant but he kind of ran an out," Brown explained. "So I broke down real fast, he bobbled the ball, he turned around too fast and I just scooped it up before he could actually get going and ran it in for a touchdown."
That play put the game out of reach, but a 38-yard Howard touchdown reception and a 31-yard Estes field goal capped off a 31-point second half to put the finishing touch on two-game sweep over the bitter neighboring county rivals before Giles moves down to Class 3A in 2017.
Next: Spring Hill
The Tigers have its focus on its neighbor from the north, Spring Hill, which upset number one seed Stone Memorial, before pulling another upset over Page on Friday to set up a rematch on Friday at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
"We've got to pay attention to detail," Crutcher said. "I'm pretty sure they know a lot of the stuff that we do. Last time we kind of blew them out of the water, but we can't look at it like that. Anything can happen in the playoffs, so we've got to play smart and limit our mistakes and take over."
Giles County 0 0 0 0-0
Marshall County 7 7 21 10-45
Marshall County-Kamron Liggett 6 run (Caleb Estes PAT)
Marshall County-Cain McWilliams 20 run (Estes PAT)
Marshall County-Tre Crutcher 77 kickoff return (Estes PAT)
Marshall County-McWilliams 4 run (Estes PAT)
Marshall County-D'Andre Brown 26 INT return (Estes PAT)
Marshall County-Jay Howard 38 pass from Bryce Wallace (Edgar Martinez PAT)
Marshall County-Estes 31-yd FG
Passing 127, Rushing 186
Passing-Bryce Wallace 14-19-127-TD-INT
Receiving-Jay Howard 6-72-TD, D'Andre Brown 4-20, JQ Haislip 2-13, Kamron Liggett 1-12, Tre Crutcher 1-10
Rushing-Cain McWilliams 6-61-2TD, Kamron Liggett 12-51-TD, D'Andre Brown 6-46, Bryce Wallace 3-22, Malik Thomison 2-6, Elijah Taylor 1-0
Tackles-Jayshon Wilcox 9, Cain McWilliams 6 (sack), Trent Richardson 6, D'Andre Brown 6 (INT), Tavi McLean 6, Hunter Cummings 5 (sack), JQ Haislip 5, Jay Howard 4, Tae Tae Lyttle 4, Tre Fields 2, Donathan Tears 2, Tre Crutcher 1, Josh Johnson 1, Jackson Boyd 1
Field goals-Caleb Estes 1-1-31
PAT-Caleb Estes 5-5, Edgar Martinez 1-1
Punting-Caleb Estes 1-46
Kickoffs-Caleb Estes 7-344 (3 touchbacks)
Kickoffs- Tre Crutcher 1-77-TD
Punts-Tre Crutcher 1-26