McKenzie edges 3A Hillcrest

Published 9:28 am Monday, September 29, 2014

The typically high-powered McKenzie offense has averaged nearly 48 points across their first four wins this season, but the Tigers only needed 14 to clinch a narrow 14-12 win over the Hillcrest Evergreen Jagaurs.

It was a front-loaded evening with most, if not all, of the action occuring int he first half, and it was senior runningback Ty Adams who got the Tigers off on the right foot with the first and only score of the half to give McKenzie an 8-0 lead.

But the Jaguars came out of the locker room at the half determined to even the odds, driving the length of the field and scoring on the opening drive of the second half.

The Tigers responded in kind with a huge kickoff return, setting the McKenzie offense up for a short field beginning at the Jaguars’ 15-yard line.

A handful of plays later saw McKenzie quarterback Terrance Clemons connecting with William Brown in the end zone for a 14-12 lead.

The neck-and-neck scoring race wasn’t finishsed, as the Jaguars held an encore performance of their previous drive and found paydirt once again for their second touchdown.

Fortunately for the Tigers, a stopped two-point conversion kept McKenzie uncomfortably ahead.

But McKenzie head coach Josh McLendon said that the Tigers had more than one opportunity to put the game away for good.

“We got inside the red zone several times and couldn’t execute to punch it in, but I was proud of how they played,” McLendon said.

“They never quit and they never stopped playing hard.”

The war of attrition ended on a Jaguars turnover, after which McKenzie ran down the clock to secure the win.

The Tigers face their next challenge in the Red Level Tigers, but McLendon added that the true challenge might be overcoming homecoming week.

“It was a little bit of a problem last year, but we’re hoping that we’ll be able to get through those distractions and not let that be a problem,” McLendon said.

“We’re going to work on it, take it one day at a time and go from there, and I think we’ll be OK.

The undefeated McKenzie Tigers will face the Red Level Tigers Friday at 7 p.m.