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McKenzie hangs on for win

McKenzie senior quarterback Sir Wallace Presley accounted for two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 23-20 win against Autaugaville. McKenzie will hit the road to face Pleasant Home Friday night. (Advocate Staff/Ashley Vansant)

For a time, it looked like McKenzie would breeze to a season-opening win against Class 1A power Autaugaville.

But looks can be deceiving.

The Tigers (1-0) squeaked out a 23-20 win thanks to a big defensive stop that came with less than a minute on the clock.

“We made it interesting – a little too interesting,” McKenzie head coach Miles Brown said with a laugh. “But when we needed a big stop we got it.”

While it was McKenzie’s defense that stood out late, it was the Tigers’ offense that stood out early. Senior quarterback Sir Wallace Presley connected with sophomore wide receiver Nicarius Peterson for a 51-yard score on the first play from scrimmage. Presley then found junior Matt Lewis for the two-point conversion to stake the Tigers to an 8-0 lead.

After an Autaugaville score, Presley added a 13-yard score and the two-point conversion to push the Tigers lead to 16-6. A 9-yard touchdown run by freshman Ty Adams, who led the Tigers with 93 yards rushing, helped McKenzie extend its lead to 23-6.

The game looked to be well in hand. But Autaugaville wasn’t ready to surrender. The Eagles added two scores to trim the lead to 23-20.

“They kept fighting,” Brown said. “We knew they would, and we had some miscues that helped them out some, but that’s a good football team. We were fortunate to come away with a win, and this a big confidence booster for us.”

Senior Octavious Mobley and Adams each had nine tackles to pace the Tiger defense, while freshman Sawyer Kendrick and senior Rakeem Ball each had seven.

“All of those guys are linebackers, and they played a great game, but they were able to do what they did because the defensive line did its job. This was a great team effort.”

The Tigers will be back in action Friday when they travel to Pleasant Home.  Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.