Marshall County hopes third time’s a charm
The Marshall County High School Tigers will play in their third straight TSSAA State Playoff semifinal game after claiming a 29-22 victory over visiting Maplewood in the Class 4A quarterfinals on Friday night at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
Marshall County (10-3) travels to face undefeated Greeneville (13-0) on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. central time with a trip to the Class 4A state title game in Cookeville on the line.
“Practicing on Thanksgiving is special as is playing on the day after. Anytime you make it this far you haven’t had a good year, you’ve had a special year and this is the third year in a row we’ve been there,” Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen said. “We’ve got so many new starters this year and a lot of people thought that we would take a step back this year but these guys wasn’t going to have it.
“We had to fight like crazy to get there, but they found a way and my hats off to our players.”
It didn’t come easy as the Tigers spotted Maplewood 14 points before settling down and scoring 23 unanswered points to take control of the game.
The Panthers recovered a fumble on Marshall County’s opening possession of the game and converted the turnover in to points after Gerrick Evans scored on a 33 yard pass from Bobo Hodges at the 9:33 mark of the first quarter. The ensuing PAT after was blocked.
Maplewood (9-4) made the most of another Marshall County turnover after recovering a fumble on the Tigers next possession.
Six plays later, the Panthers found the end zone when Hodges connected on a 12-yard pass to James Mason. Makell Smith hauled in the two-point conversion to increase the lead to 14-0.
“We have taken care of the football so well all season and I hate we had those two turnovers early in the game but like any good team, we battled through all the obstacles and adversity,” Osteen said. “We could have folded going down 14-0 that early in the game and we had some guys get injured as well, but we scratched and clawed and played for our brothers tonight.”
The Tigers fought back and scored 16 points to close out the half.
Kamron Liggett scored on a 36-yard run and Caleb Estes connected on the point after to cut the lead to 14-7 by the end of the first quarter.
Liggett added an eight yard touchdown run, but the two-point conversion failed while Estes followed with a 21-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half to put the Tigers up 16-14 at the intermission.
Marshall County increased the lead to 23-16 when Liggett rushed for his third touchdown in the game with Estes good on the point after.
Maplewood continued to battle and scored with 6:01 left to play off a 24-yard run by Hodges. He also ran for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 23-22.
The Tigers sealed the win on a pick-six by Jayson Wilcox after he intercepted a pass and scored after teammate Malachi French tipped the ball in the closing seconds of the game.
Liggett rushed for 150 yards on 30 carries.
Quarterback Bryce Wallace completed 5-of-9 passes for 94 yards and added 59 yards rushing on 14 carries.
This was a very physical game with a number of personal fouls called on both teams.
“As a coach you never want to see personal fouls and players ejected, but with that being said with this being the playoffs one teams season will come to an end and somebody’s seniors want get to play again,” Osteen said. “I’m not condoning what happens but that’s playoff football to a degree.”
“I’ve still got to figure out some of the personal fouls that happened at the end and see if I can get some answers. Hopefully it want affect us next week (Friday night).”
Liggett and freshman Terry Gilley, along with two players from Maplewood were ejected, but after an appeal to the TSSAA, Liggett was reinstated for this week’s game, but Gulley will have to sit out one game.
Maplewood 14 0 0 8-22
Marshall County 7 9 7 6-29
Maplewood-Gerrick Evans 33-yard pass from Bobo Hodges (kick failed), 9:33.
Maplewood-James Mason 12 pass from Hodges (Makell pass from Bobo), 3:37.
Marshall County-Kamron Liggett 36-yard run (Caleb Estes kick), 1:48.
Marshall County-Liggett 8-yard run (run failed), 7:26.
Marshall County-Estes 21-yard field goal, 0:08.
Marshall County-Liggett 2-yard run (Estes kick), 0:59.
Maplewood-Hodges 24-yard run (Hodges run), 6:01.
Marshall County-Jayson Wilcox 20-yard interception return (kick failed), 0:23.
Marshall County Offense
Total Offense-Rushing 212, Passing 94
Rushing-Kamron Liggett 30-150-3TD, Bryce Wallace 14-59, Mason Warner 2-3
Passing-Bryce Wallace 5-9-94
Receiving-Kamron Liggett 2-44, Dagon Stacy 1-36, Brandon Rowan 2-14
Kickoffs-Kamron Liggett 2-48, Bryce Wallace 1-0
Field Goals-Caleb Estes 1-1-21
Tackles-Hunter Cummings 12, Marcellus Campbell 9 (INT), Jayshon Wilcox 8 (INT TD), Tavi Mclean 5 (SACK, 2 FUM REC), Joseph Freeland 5, Dagon Stacy 5, Josh Johnson 4, Grant Agnew 4, Antonio Warren 4, Bryce Wallace 4, Mason Warner 3, Billy Cheek 3 (INT), B Flemming 3, Taylor Clark 2, Devon Wilson 1, Brandon Rowan 1, Marcus McCord 1