Tigers outduel Raiders for region supremacy
The Marshall County Tigers grabbed a stranglehold on the Region 4-4A top spot with a tough 34-27 win over Spring Hill (4-4, 2-2) Friday night at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
“We were down 14-7 at halftime and we talked about doing a bunch of good things on offense, but we kind of punished ourselves,” MCHS coach Thomas Osteen said. “We talked about starting the second half fast and boy we did.” The Tigers (6-2, 4-0) kept their 15-game region winning streak alive and can claim a third consecutive region crown with a Maplewood (5-3, 2-1) win at Nolensville (3-5, 2-1) on Friday night.
“It’s not quite over, but we feel like we are in a really good position,” Osteen said. “It was just a gritty win for us tonight.”
It was running back showcase night as Marshall County standout Kamron Liggett outdueled Spring Hill’s Dontae Smith with Liggett rushing for 190 yards and three second half touchdowns, while Smith put up 173 yards and also had three TDs for the Raiders.
“He (Smith) is all the talk in the paper, but I’m 4-0 against him, so I feel like I’m winning,” Liggett said. “It wasn’t an easy win and we didn’t expect to be, but we came in the second half, made the adjustments and fought hard and did what we needed to do to win.”
“After halftime they were tired of hitting me all game and that is what we are known for down here---running and running and running and that is what we will keep doing---I want to thank my ‘O” line again, because I would be nothing without them.”
Both defenses held in a scoreless first quarter before Spring Hill broke the ice early in the second on a Smith 9-yard TD run that capped off an 87-yard scoring drive for the Raiders.
Marshall County came up with great field position at their own 49-yard line on a solid kickoff return by Brandon Rowan that sparked a 51-yard scoring drive, ending on a Bryce Wallace 9-yard touchdown strike to Devon Wilson.
Caleb Estes nailed the PAT to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:25 remaining in the second quarter.
Estes crushed a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, but two plays later, Smith outraced the Marshall County defense to the end zone from 69 yards out and the successful PAT kick gave the Raiders a 14-7 lead.
The Tigers drove deep into Spring Hill territory where the drive stalled and Estes tried a field goal that was no good.
Dagon Stacy got the ball back with an interception for Marshall County, who drove to the 44-yard line before a Spring Hill interception ended the first half with the Raiders in front 14-7.
Marshall County came out fired up in the second half, sparked by a 29-yard kickoff return by Miciah Greer to the midfield stripe.
Four plays later, the Tigers were on the Spring Hill 31-yard line when Liggett busted a run to the 10-yard line and then Liggett punched it in from there on the next play to make it a 14-13 contest after the PAT boot was no good.
The Tiger defense stopped Spring Hill’s next drive, forcing a punt that was caught by Rowan, who juked his way through the Spring Hill tacklers all the way down the home sideline for a 53-yard touchdown that gave MCHS the lead and lit the fire under the Tigers and their fans with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
“I just caught the ball and found space and took it to the house, I saw grass and I just took off,” Rowan said. “I’m very happy down here and I’m glad I came here, I should have come as a freshman, but it is what it is.”
Spring Hill coughed the ball up and senior Tavi Mclean recovered the rock deep in Raiders’ territory and it took Liggett two runs to make it a 26-14 contest after the PAT kick was blocked.
“Tavi is a great player and he is gonna be a great player on Saturdays,” Osteen said. “He has a big motor, he is so talented with those long arms coming off the edge and he was a big time defensive player tonight.”
The Raiders used up the rest of the time in the third quarter and had one untimed down because of penalty that they capitalized on when Blake Tarrence hauled in a 19-yard pass from TJ Ennis for a touchdown, but the extra point was no good to make it 24-20 with the entire fourth quarter remaining.
The Tigers needed just one minute to respond on Liggett’s third touchdown of the game as MCHS opened up a two-touchdown lead at 34-20 when Wallace added the 2-point run.
“Anytime you control the line of scrimmage like we have for most times this year and have a back like Kamron to hand it to, you give yourself a great chance to win,” Osteen said. “Our offensive line is one of the best in the Mid-State and they showed that tonight.”
The Raiders were not done as they drove the ball 61 yards for a score on a Smith 9-yard TD burst with 7:43 remaining in the game.
Marshall County burned five plus minutes off the clock on the ensuing drive, but an Estes 32-yard field goal attempt was no good with 1:47 left in the game with the Tigers in front 34-27.
The Raiders ran seven plays to midfield when McLean stripped the ball from Ennis and recovered the fumble to seal the win for the Tigers.
“It feels amazing, it was crunch time and we needed to get off the field,” Mclean said. “It feels amazing playing for this team and a good coaching staff, we just got to keep it going.”
It will be a battle of eighth-ranked squads when Marshall County travels to 6A Brentwood (7-1) Friday for a big non-region game versus the Bruins before returning to Preston Hopkins Field for the regular season finale next week versus Nolensville.
“It’s a non-region game and we are beat up right now as a football team, so that kind of worries you playing a big good opponent, but we will do what we do and put together another good week of practice,” Osteen said. “By and large, the biggest thing on our list is figuring out how to win that last game versus Nolensville and see if we can go into the playoffs as good as possible.”
Spring Hill 0 14 6 7-27
Marshall County 0 7 19 8-34
Spring Hill-Dontae Smith 9-yard run, Brenton Basnaw PAT, 11:56
Marshall County- Devon Wilson 9-yard pass from Bryce Wallace, Caleb Estes PAT, 7:25
Spring Hill-Smith 69-yard run, Basnaw PAT, 6:40
Marshall County-Kamron Liggett 10-yard run, PAT NG, 9:00
Marshall County-Brandon Rowan 53 yard punt return, Estes PAT, 6:25
Marshall County-Liggett 9-yard run, PAT NG, 4:54
Spring Hill- Blake Tarrence 19-yard pass from TJ Ennis, PAT NG, 0:00 (Untimed down)
Marshall County-Liggett 3-yard run, Wallace 2-point run, 11:00
Spring Hill-Smith 10-yard run, Basnaw PAT, 7:43
Total Yards-Spring Hill 374, Marshall County 287
Rushing-Spring Hill 236, Marshall County 244
Passing-Spring Hill 138, Marshall County 43
Marshall County Offense
Rushing-Kamron Liggett 30-190-3TD, Bryce Wallace 13-36, Hunter Cummings 1-18
Passing-Bryce Wallace 6-13-43-TD-INT
Receiving-Dagon Stacy 2-23, Brandon Rowan 2-16, Devon Wilson 1-9-TD, Miciah Greer 1-(-3)
Punts-Brandon Rowan 1-53-TD
Kickoffs-Miciah Greer 1-29, Brandon Rowan 1-28, Grant Agnew 1-19, Dagon Stacy 1-0
Kickoffs-Caleb Estes 6-339-4TB
PAT-Caleb Estes 2-3
FG-Caleb Estes 0-2
Punting-Caleb Estes 1-38
Spring Hill Offense
Rushing-Dontae Smith 18-173-3TD, Darrin Johnson 2-65, H. Phillips 3-6, TJ Ennis 7-(-8)
Passing-TJ Ennis 11-17-138-TD-INT
Receiving-Justin Oden 6-85, Blake Tarrence 1-19-TD, Darrin Johnson 2-21, Javari Braden 1-13
PAT-Brenton Basnaw 3-4
Punting-Josh Seltz 3-91
Marshall County Defense
Tackles-Tavi McLean 8 (2 FUM REC), Antonio Warren 6, Devon Wilson 5, Grant Agnew 5, Dagon Stacy 5 (INT), Joseph Freeland 4, Jayshon Wilcox 4 (SACK), Hunter Cummings 3, Andrew Gold 3, Josh Johnson 3 (SACK), Mason Warner 2 (SACK), Xavier Garrett 2, Brandon Rowan 1, Marcellus Campbell 1, Hunter Lancaster 1, Billy Cheek 1, Miciah Greer 1