Turnovers costly for McKenzie in shutout loss to Pleasant Home

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2005

Bodie Pickens

The McKenzie Tigers dropped to 0-2 on the season as the Pleasant Home Eagles soared to a 27-0 region victory.

Costly turnovers and being on the short end of a few big plays hurt this astoundingly young football team.

McKenzie head coach David Kirkland expressed his concerns.

"Our team is extremely young and we're so thin in depth," Kirkland said.

"However, I'm proud of their effort tonight.

If you take away a handful of plays, the scoreboard would have read something else."

The Tigers gave up two touchdowns resulting from turnovers including a 35-yard interception in the second quarter. The Eagles also scored big on TD completions from 47 and 34 yards out.

Kirkland stated the importance of staying positive.

"Regardless of the scoreboard, our young team had some victories tonight.

We'll see more bright spots as this team continues to grow up through the season."

The Tigers fell prone to some growing pains from the start as the offense tried to establish the run.

The junior and senior laden Eagle team held the young McKenzie team to just 50 offensive yards.

"Both teams did a good job of stopping the run," Kirkland said.

After trading licks in the fist half of the opening quarter, the Eagles put together a quick strike drive that resulted to a 7-0 lead with 5:13 left in the quarter.

Pleasant Home QB Bob Ballard connected with junior wide receiver Jared Powell on the 47-yard TD.

The Tigers could not counter as freshman quarterback Jake Page threw an interception to Eagle's cornerback Justin Little. However, Page was the leading rusher for the Tigers.

"Like several of our players, Jake (Page) played both ways tonight and did a good job.

I can't say enough about his effort," Kirkland said.

Along with Page, junior Ryan Sellers, sophomores Curtis Ball and Chance Davis led the defensive effort.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers continued to stuff the Eagle offense as Pleasant Home was held on a key fourth-and-15 at the McKenzie 23 yard line.

However, Page was intercepted again as Pleasant Home's Powell took it 35 yards for the 14-0 lead with 6:49 left in the second quarter.

Page's accurate pass went though the intended receiver's hands.

McKenzie then responded with its most productive drive of the night.

Page highlighted the drive as the freshman turned to the sidelines for a 25-yard run to the Eagle 39-yard line.

The Eagles then put the clamps on as they held the Tigers on 4th and 10 3:54 left in the half.

When it looked like the Eagles were going to close the half with a score, McKenzie's Sellers intercepted Ballard's pass near the end zone with two seconds remaining.

"That was a great play by Ryan.

I look for more plays like that from him," Kirkland stated.

On their opening drive in the third, the Eagles marched 45 yards down the field for a touchdown.

It was Ballard again as he connected on a 34-yard strike to his receiver.

With 9:23 left in the third quarter, the Eagles claimed a 20-0 lead.

As a result of another McKenzie turnover, Pleasant Home would add an additional score with 8:12 left in the game to win 27-0.

"We have to keep a positive outlook.

We are going to continue to work on the fundamentals and do this thing the right way," Kirkland said.

Kirkland stated the team would continue to work hard in practice and focus on repetitions.

McKenzie will try to win its first region game next Friday night as the Tigers travel to Goshen.