Tigers win Saturday shootout
Friday night’s inclement weather forced the postponement of the Marshall County Tigers’ trip to Tullahoma to Saturday afternoon and the dry, fast track benefitted both talented squads that put up a combined 900 yards of total offense.
“This is what you live for, if you love the game of football this is it,” Marshall County quarterback Bryce Wallace said. “I’m so glad we were able to pull it off with the guys we have.”
Tied at 35-35 after three periods, the Marshall County defense won the all-important fourth quarter, shutting out the Wildcats for the last 12 minutes to take the Region 4/4A opener, 42-35.
“Hats off to the kids for finding a way to win,” Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen said. “We have played in so many lopsided games over the last two years, so bottom line when you play in a close game it makes you better and if you are going to beat anybody good at the end of the year, you will have to win a close game.”
Marshall County’s decisive fourth quarter scoring drive began at their own 12-yard line with 7:50 remaining in the contest and it didn’t look like success would be achieved at the outset as the Tigers were behind the chains after a holding penalty.
“They made more plays than us in the first half, but we made more plays than them in in the second half and that was the difference,” Osteen said.
Facing a third-and-11 at the 28-yard line, Bryce Wallace found Devon Wilson for a big first down catch.
From there the Tigers marched towards the goal line where Kamron Liggett pounded the rock into the end zone from 1-yard out for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:38 left in the contest.
Liggett turned in his second huge game in row, toting the rock 30 times for 189 yards and four touchdowns. Liggett also had one reception for 18 yards.
Wallace also had a solid game behind center for Marshall County, completing 13-of-19 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Wallace’s main target for the day was Dagon Stacy, who hauled in four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Caleb Estes was his solid self in the kicking game, making all six of his PAT attempts and every one of his seven kickoffs were unreturnable as touchbacks.
Blackmon transfer Amauri Burks was the real deal as the senior running back put up 314 yards of total offense, rushing 15 times for 96 yards and one touchdown, catching nine passes for 146 yards and two TDs, and returning a punt 72 yards for a score.
“We like our guys in any match-up, but 25 (Burks) can play the game,” Wallace said. “They have incredible talent and we know they were going to play hard and give us a great challenge, but we came out on top.”
Both squads scored on their initial drives in the contest with the Tigers taking a 7-0 lead on a Wallace 47-yard strike to Stacy before the Wildcats tied the game on a Burks 25-yard TD catch from Nic Barstad.
Barstad went 23-for-35 for 302 yards and three touchdowns in the game, plus one huge interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter by Andrew Gold.
“Andrew Gold is such an accountable kid,” Osteen said. “He is just a sophomore and will be a Tiger great before it’s over and he came up with a huge stop when we weren’t stopping them very good.”
Even though the Tigers turned the ball back over to the Wildcats on a fumble, Gold’s interception seemed to take the life out of the Tullahoma offense as they posted two three-and-outs in the fourth quarter and did not have enough left in the tank or on the clock for their final drive that ran out of time at the MCHS 47-yard line.
Marshall County led 14-7 after the first quarter before the Wildcats outscored the Tigers 21-7 in the second period with the big blow coming on Burks’ punt return touchdown with 1:57 remaining in the first half.
Tullahoma received the second half kickoff and were at their own 31-yard when they tried to get fancy and it cost them as a lateral after a completed pass hit the turf and was recovered by the Tigers.
“We said at the halftime we are going to have to win because we love each other, not for the hatred of the other team and I’m glad we did that.” Wallace said.
Five plays later, Liggett tied the game at 28 on his third touchdown in the contest.
Tullahoma mounted its final scoring drive of the game, going ahead 35-28 after a three-minute drive that was capped off on Barstad 3-yard TD pass to Matthew Ross with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers answered with 72-yard, three-minute drive that was finalized with a Liggett 1-yard nose crunching TD with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
Tullahoma finished the third quarter with the ball and two plays into the final period, Gold stepped in front of a Barstad pass and returned it to the midfield stripe.
“We were just down a lot and momentum wasn’t going our way and we had a game plan all week where I had seen that play two or three times, so I just stepped in there and got one for my team,” Gold said. “This is just great because it’s our first win in the region, we have four more and Maplewood’s next.”
The Tigers coughed it up moments later, but the defense held, forcing a Tullahoma punt with 7:50 remaining in the game.
Four minutes and 12 second later, Wallace ran 12 yards for the go-ahead score.
“Every time we scored, they ended up scoring,” Wallace said. “We kept telling our defense if you can get one stop, get one stop and we will score.”
The Wildcats got the ball and Barstad threw three consecutive incompletions with the final pass being broke up on a nice play by Brandon Rowan.
Marshall County ran down the clock to 1:13 and Estes punted the ball away to the Tullahoma 36-yard line.
The Wildcats were unable to mount the tying scoring drive and the Tigers prevailed to move to 2-1 on the season.
Marshall County has a bye this week before returning for a grueling three-game road trip to Maplewood (2-1), Pearl-Cohn (2-1), and Lawrence County (1-2).
“Two weeks is long time off after a loss, so I’m glad we came away with it,” Osteen said. “We are banged up a little more than usual this early in the year, so we are definitely going to get rested up,” Osteen said.
“We are going to get back to our fundamentals because we have to get better at tackling and blocking downfield, so that is what we will work on.”
The Tigers return to Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg on October 6 when they host Giles County (1-1).
“We are 1-0 in the region with a big region game at Maplewood in two weeks after this bye,” Wallace said. “We are going to enjoy this win and get ready for Maplewood.”
Marshall County 14 7 14 7-42
Tullahoma 7 21 7 0-35
Marshall County-Dagon Stacy 47-yard pass from Bryce Wallace, Caleb Estes PAT, 9:04
Tullahoma- Amauri Burks 54-yard pass from Nic Barstad, Chase Farler PAT, 5:17
Marshall County-Kamron Liggett 1-yard run, Estes PAT, 1:55
Marshall County-Liggett 1-yard run, Estes PAT, 11:32
Tullahoma-Amauri Burks 35-yard pass from Barstad, Farler PAT, 8:21
Tullahoma-Amauri Burks 1-yard run, Farler PAT, 4:41
Tullahoma-Amauri Burks 72-yard punt return, Farler PAT, 1:57
Marshall County-Liggett 4-yard run, Estes PAT, 8:52
Tullahoma- Matthew Ross 3-yard pass from Barstad, Farler PAT, 5:17
Marshall County-Liggett 1-yard run, Estes PAT, 2:24
Marshall County-Wallace 4-yard run, Estes PAT, 3:38
Total yards-Marshall County 408, Tullahoma 492
Rushing yards-Marshall County 308, Tullahoma 106
Passing yards-Marshall County 184, Tullahoma 302
Turnovers-Marshall County 1, Tullahoma 3
Rushing-Kamron Liggett 30-189-4TD, Bryce Wallace 14-88-TD, Hunter Cummings 6-40, Brandon Rowan 1-4, Miciah Greer 2-1, Caleb Estes 1-(-18)
Passing-Bryce Wallace 13-19-184-TD
Receiving-Dagon Stacy 4-103-TD, Devon Wilson 4-42, Kamron Liggett 2-18, Miciah Greer 2-6
Kickoffs-Brandon Rowan 2-49, Devon Wilson 1-19, Dagon Stacy 1-18, Caleb Darnell 1-8
Punts- Marcellus Campbell 1-15
PAT-Caleb Estes 6-6
FG-Caleb Estes 0-1
Punts-Caleb Estes 2-54
Tackles-Billy Cheek 10, Miciah Greer 8, Andrew Gold 7 (INT), Hunter Lancaster 7 (fumble recovery), Marcellus Campbell 6, Hunter Cummings 5, Grant Agnew 5, Josh Johnson 3, Malik Thomison 3, Jayshon Wilcox 3, Dagon Stacy 2 (fumble recovery), Tavi Mclean 1 (SACK), Keylin Talley 1, Xavier Garrett 1, Antonio Warren 1