Marshall County Jamboree

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Tiger coaches get together before the final drive on the evening in an attempt to stage a last minute comeback in the 9-7 loss versus Pope John Paul II.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The beginning of August marks the start of a new school year for both students and parents alike but for the rapid Tiger fan base, the eighth month of the year also provides a glimpse of things to come--starting with the annual jamboree at Preston Hopkins field.

Friday afternoon brought a downpour of epic proportions forcing the jamboree to be rescheduled for Saturday night and whether the delay played a role in the ability for Marshall County and it's opponent Pope John Paul II to execute plays seamlessly remains to be seen but both squads struggled to get much going in a 9-7 Knight win.

The Tigers, who averaged nearly 40 points per game during the 2016 season, lost two of the most decorated wide receivers in program history (Jay Howard, Citadel and Tre Crutcher, Glenville State) and the power running combo of Cain McWilliams (MTSU) and D'Andre Brown (Glenville State) which left the Marshall County offense without a proven playmaker for All-Region quarter back Bryce Wallace to turn to for instant offense.

Marcellus Campbell (22) dives in vain to block a Pope John Paull II field goal attempt that will put the Knights up for good at 9-7.

Several prospects emerged after Saturday night with rarely used Elijah Taylor making himself early and often and Dagon Stacey and Devon Wilson stepping up as viable targets for Wallace in the passing game.

The Tigers first offensive attempts we're filled with miscues starting with an offside infraction after the opening Marshall County first down of the season.

The penalty was followed by a high snap over Wallace's helmet to put the Tigers in a third and 21 situation before another offside moved the home team back five more yards.

Tiger sophomore return man Devon Wilson (11) gives Marshall County one last gasp of air with a 50 plus yard kickoff return after Pope John Paul II nailed a 25-yard field goal to go on top 9-7.

The next play provided a preview of both the talent and youthfulness of the 2017 Tigers as Wilson drew on his speed to breeze by the Knights defensive backs but turned the wrong way as the Wallace pass sailed to the ground.

Pope John Paul went to work on the next possession as quarter back Ben Nixon hit Rory White for an eight yard pickup on third and six.

The defense backed the Knights up to another third and long but after Nixon picked up four yards on a scramble, the junior signal caller hit Brendan Keaton on fourth down to keep the drive alive.

The Knights turned to it's workhorse on the ensuing set of downs, as running back Reilly Zahn ran for five yards, caught a pass for five yards, added five more yards on the ground before trotting into the end zone untouched for the 6-0 lead after the missed PAT.

The Tigers were quick to answer as Stacey picked up a 17-yard catch to the 38 yard line before Liggett broke off a nine yards run.

Taylor moved the chains on a fourth and one before powered through the line from nine yards out to tie the contest at 6-6 with 10:36 in the second quarter.

Mr. Automatic, Caleb Estes, gave the Tigers is first lead of the night on a PAT but the advantage would not last long.

The two defenses went back and forth but the game would ultimately come down to kicking as a 25 yard field goal would put the Knights ahead for good 9-7.

The Tigers had one more shot at a win with a long Miciah Greer kickoff return but with 12 seconds remaining and no timeouts the Marshall County coaching staff gambled with an extra play before sending out the field goal unit.

Tiger quarterback Bryce Wallace tries valiantly to get rid of the ball to stop the clock with an incomplete pass on the final play of the game.

Unfortunately, a bad snap led the a Wallace sack and without a way to stop the clock, the time slipped away in the 9-7 defeat.

The Tigers will now turn to the regular season which features an opener against Cane Ridge from Antioch.

The Davidson County squad plays in 6A, the highest public school level in the state, and finished the 2016 season undefeated before falling by 3 points to 5A runner-up Independence in the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs.