Tigers, Bulldogs battle for top spot

Published 4:46 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Six weeks of perfect region play from both McKenzie School and Brantley High School culminates on Friday night as the Tigers travel to Brantley for what is shaping up to be a veritable clash of Class 1A titans.

Since losing their season opener to the out-of-region rival Luverne High School, the Bulldogs have gone on a tear in region play, outscoring opponents by an average of nearly 28 points.

During that same time, Brantley’s stingy defense has only allowed a scant 12.4 points per game.

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McKenzie head coach Josh McLendon is well aware of the challenges that face him and his team, but it’s a challenge that they’re looking to face head on.

“We’re real excited about the opportunity to play a team like Brantley, and the great tradition that they have,” McLendon said. “We’re just looking forward to the challenge. We know it’s going to be a tough place to play and it’s going to be by far our toughest test all year, so we’re looking forward to it.”

McLendon added that one of the reasons for Brantley’s continual success year after year is because of the great system they’ve established.

In fact, it’s a system for success that McKenzie has very much modeled itself after.

“They’ve got a winning tradition that kids believe in and the community believes in,” McLendon said. “And everybody has bought into the idea of being successful and being a winner, and that’s sort of what we hope to do here also.”

But no matter how difficult the opponent, the Tigers are sticking to the same guns that have gotten them this far.

“Our approach is going to be the same as it’s been for every game,” McLendon said.

“Don’t turn the ball over, play well on defense and special teams and just go out there and have fun and play aggressively and see what happens.”

McKenzie and Brantley will face off at 7 p.m. Friday in Brantley.