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MHS remains unbeaten with victory over Ariton

The McKenzie High School Tigers remained perfect on the year with a 42-28 win over Class 1A No. 5 Ariton on Friday night.

Not only did the victory make the Tigers 3-0 (2-0 in Class 1A Region 1), but it also avenged a 57-6 loss at the hands of the Purple Cats in 2007, one of four losses to end the year for Coach Miles Brown’s McKenzie team.

“Today we had a team meeting before we left and we talked about how big this ball game was,” said Brown. “Ariton is one of those teams that McKenzie hadn’t beat in awhile. The scores in the past have been lopsided. During our team meeting today everyone taped up their wrists and wrote the past scores on their wrists. We had a mission. This was personal for us. We were playing for the teams from the past.”

After McKenzie took a two-touchdown lead at halftime, Brown said the game was 28-27 near the end of the third quarter.

“It was real close, but I looked out onto the field and our kids are holding up their left arms,” said Brown. “I got chill bumps.”

McKenzie pulled away to claim the victory.

“We had to score in the fourth quarter,” said Brown. “They’re a strong physical football team. There were some big plays tonight…some big stops. We saw kids become leaders tonight.”

Calvin Henderson was 8-of-24 passing for 254 yards. Melvin Owens was the top pass catcher for the Tigers, hauling in 141 yards receiving. Emmanuel Johnson led MHS on the ground with 146 yards rushing.

Antonio Lett had 17 tackles to lead MHS’s defense, plus an interception.  Ethan Davis added eight tackles.