McKenzie opens season on top

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 2004

After a long drought, two coaching changes and a complete rebuilding process the McKenzie Tigers have climbed the hill.

After failing to win a game in over a year and a half the Tigers took the wind out of the Hurricanes using an aggressive defense and taking advantage of Flomaton miscues.

One such miscue turned out to be the difference in the game. Midway through the third quarter the Hurricanes were on the move when they put the ball on the ground. Jamie Henderson was on the spot for the Tigers to pounce on the ball and give the Tigers prime position at their own 48-yard line.

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The Tigers, who trailed 8-6 at the time, needed only five plays before Sattrick Rudolph hit David Davidson for a three-yard slant route to put the Tigers up 12-8. The combo would strike again on the exact same play to the other side for the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a lead they would hold for the rest of the night.

However, things did not start quickly for the Tigers.

Flomaton, who gained a total of 260 yards compared to the Tigers 134, used a bruising running game and a Tiger special teams breakdown to take an early lead.

The Hurricanes got on the board first after pinning the Tigers inside the 10-yard line and forcing a punt. The snap sailed over the McKenzie punters head and out of the endzone for a safety.

The McKenzie defense stiffened again until the 7:34 mark in the second quarter when Dannon Lisenby, who rushed for 140 yards on 31 carries found the endzone. On the conversion Lizenby would be stuffed leaving the Tigers down only 8-0.

McKenzie stormed back on their next possession driving inside the Hurricane 10 yard line.

The Tiger drive bogged down at the 13 yard line forcing a fourth down play for McKenzie.

McKenzie Coach David Kirkland would gamble and win as quarterback Jonathan Bush pitched out to Jerome Ball who went the distance putting the Tigers on the board. The conversion failed and the half ended with the Tigers down 8-6.

The second half the McKenzie defense completely shut down Lisenby and the Hurricane offense. At the same time they forced two key turnovers that proved to be back breakers.

Though the Tigers controlled the second half Flomaton still made a late run. After a McKenzie drive stalled the Hurricanes took over with 8:50 remaining at their own 21 yard line. Flomaton then proceeded to slowly grind out yardage and drive inside the Tiger 20 with less than two minutes remaining. But the Tigers would have none of it. The defense rallied again and stuffed the drive allowing the offense to take over and run out the clock.

Defense starred in the game for the Tigers. The tackles were distributed fairly evenly among the front seven, while the defensive backfield provided support.

Offensively, the Tigers did just enough to win eliminating turnovers and finding success in the air.

Quarterbacks Sattrick Rudolph and Jonathan Bush combined to go 10 for 15 through the air for 68 yards.

The Tigers will try to build a streak of a different kind next week as they travel to face region foe Pleasant Home.