MCHS opens playoffs with shutout against DeKalb Co.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Billy Cheek gets a hug from quarterback Bryce Wallace after his interception returned for a touchdown in the opening round of the playoffs.
Tribune photos by Chris Siers

Marshall County Coach Thomas Osteen has been prepping his team with the hopes of the Tigers playing their best football of the season just in time for a deep playoff run.

So far, so good.

Marshall County (8-4) opened the TSSAA playoffs on Friday night just how its coach wanted, shutting out DeKalb County 42-0.

“We were really happy with the defense and we put a goose egg on the board. Anybody in the playoffs is here for a reason. I’m just really happy with our defensive staff and the game plan they put together and really happy with the way we executed it,” Osteen said.

Dekalb County (3-8) was under duress all night long against the Tigers.

Marshall County continually brought pressure, which wilted the DeKalb County offensive line.

“Tavi McLean and Jayshon Wilcox are two of the best defensive linemen around. They’re hard to block. We knew there would be a chance with as much as DeKalb throws it for us to get some sacks. Really happy with their play tonight,” Osteen said.

Marcellus Campbell comes up with a big interception against DeKalb County on Friday night.

The defense made a statement from the first play from scrimmage, when McClean burst through the offensive line and sacked DeKalb County quarterback Grayson Redmon for a four-yard loss.

Not much went the visitor’s way after that play, either.

After forcing a three and out, Marshall County needed just five plays to find the end zone when quarterback Bryce Wallace scored on a 3-yard strike.

The Tigers added a second score on their only other possession of the first quarter when Wallace connected with Devon Wilson on a 25-yard TD score with 3:29 left in the opening frame.

That touchdown pass was the first of four by Wallace.

He linked up again with Wilson on a 25-yard TD pass and he connected with senior wide out Brandon Rowan on receptions of 10 and 23 yards.

“Really feel like Bryce played one of his cleanest games of the year and made some big plays in the passing game,” Osteen said.

Wallace finished the game completing 12 of 17 passes for 221 yards and four TDs.

With Wallace spurring on the passing game, it was senior Kamron Liggett who led the Tigers on the ground.

Though he didn’t find the end zone, Liggett finished the night with 71 yards on 12 carries.

“Kamron has been a bell cow for us all year. He made some big plays for us tonight. He’s been fighting a little bit of a cold, so we’re really happy he didn’t have to carry it as many times as he’s been carrying it throughout the course of the year,” Osteen said.

While the Tigers’ offense delivered 35 points against DeKalb County, perhaps the final nail in the coffin came just before the half.

Marshall County had scored with 2:12 left in the second quarter and held a 28-0 lead.

Billy Cheek (27) and Antonio Warren (25) combine for a big stop against DeKalb County on Friday nigh

Three plays later, senior linebacker Billy Cheek picked off a pass by Redmon and returned it 11 yards for the only defensive score of the game.

With Friday night’ win, the Tigers will advance to the second round and face a familiar foe—Spring Hill.

The Tigers were able to grind out a 34-27 win in Lewisburg against the Raiders back on October 13.

Getting a rematch against the Raiders, Osteen says his team will have to play its best football to date in order to keep the postseason run alive.

“We have to tackle better than we’ve ever tackled. They have more athletes than anybody in our area. We had a dogfight with them here in the regular season. We have to be gap sound, we can’t give up big plays and we have to tackle like crazy,” he said.

But even since their regular season meeting, Osteen feels his team has improved.

“Our goal is to be playing our best this time of year. We had a really good 10th game of the regular season and I feel like that parlayed into tonight. Our goal is to hopefully have everything dialed in and so far, I’m really pleased with that,” he said.

The Tigers will host the Raiders in the second round of the TSSAA playoffs on Friday night in Lewisburg.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

DeKalb Co. 0 0 0 0 — 0

Marshall Co. 14 21 7 0 — 42

First Quarter

M — Bryce Wallace 3 run (Caleb Estes kick) 8:14.

M — Devon Wilson 25 pass from Wallace (Estes kick) 3:29.

Second Quarter

M — Brandon Rowan 10 pass from Wallace (Estes kick) 8:49.

M — Rowan 23 pass from Wallace (Estes kick) 2:12.

M — Billy Cheek 11 interception return (Estes kick) 1:06.

Third Quarter

M — Wilson 66 pass from Wallace (Edgar Martinez kick) :53.

Marshall County Offense

Total yards- Rushing 101, Passing 216

Rushing- Bryce Wallace 7-1-TD, Mason Warner 4-22, Solomon Tyson 4-(-2), Kamron Liggett 12-71, Javarria Rucker 3-9.

Passing- Bryce Wallace 12-17-221-4TDs; Christian Stacey 1-3-(-5)

Receiving- Devon Wilson 5-120-2TDs, Brandon Rowan 4-64-2TDs, Matt Runions 1-(-5), Kamron Liggett 2-29, Javarria Rucker 1-8.

Returns

Punts- Brandon Rowan 3-32; Marcellus Campbell 1.

Kickoffs- Rowan 1-59.

Kicking

Caleb Estes 7-377-3TBs

PAT- Caleb Estes 5-5, Edgar Martinez 1-1

Punting- Caleb Estes 3-97

Defense

Tackles- Andrew Gold- 2, Hunter Lancaster 1, Antonio Warren 4, Billy Cheek 1, Bennett Flemming 1, Joseph Freeland 4, Grant Agnew 4, Taylor Clark 1, Jayshon Wilcox, Xavier Garrett 3, Tavi Mclean 2.