McKenzie rallies for win, improves to 4-0

Published 11:39 pm Friday, September 20, 2013

After trailing for much of the first half, a crucial turnover led to a 14-point swing that gave the McKenzie Tigers all of the momentum they would need to churn out a 46-28 victory over the Geneva County Bulldogs.

Despite trailing 20-12 after a somewhat sluggish offensive start, a long pass down the sideline to wide receiver Condie Pugh put the Tigers in the end zone.

Seconds later, a tipped pass led to a McKenzie pick, which would set up the second three-play drive to give McKenzie a 26-20 lead right before the half.

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It was all McKenzie after that, as the Tigers extended a 14-point streak into 34 unanswered points in the second half of play.

Geneva County wouldn’t score again until nine seconds were left in the fourth quarter.

Despite the scoring clinic that the Tigers put on in the second half, McKenzie head coach Josh McLendon credits his entire team — offense, defense and special teams — for the dominating second half performance.

“Our defense played great, and they gave the ball back to the offense — it was just a total team win,” McLendon said.

“It was one of those games where we all had to do our jobs and we all did our jobs.”

McLendon noted that the dual running back powerhouse offense of Geneva County was largely mitigated by the fact that the Bulldogs’ offense wasn’t well suited to mounting a comeback.

The swarming Tigers defense didn’t leave much room for error, and the Bulldogs’ ground-and-pound approach did little to stop the bleeding as McKenzie extended a six-point lead at the half to 26 points.

And though McLendon added that the win against a tough opponent like Geneva County is a great boost for his team, it’s just one win at the end of the day.

“We’re taking it one day at a time, and we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,” McLendon added.

“That’s my job as a coach, to keep everybody grounded and to make sure they understand that this is one game. We’re going to enjoy this win tonight, and then we’re going to go back to work next week.”

Wide receiver Nico Peterson finished the night with both a punt return and a kickoff return for touchdowns, and running back Anthony Grace also contributed two touchdowns.

McKenzie looks to extend its streak to five games next week against Class 2A opponent Cottonwood High School.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in McKenzie.