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McKenzie shuts out Florala in landslide win

Running back Chris Shufford earned 120 yards on six carries and four touchdowns in the McKenzie Tigers’ convincing 53-0 win over the Florala Wildcats.

Running back Chris Shufford earned 120 yards on six carries and four touchdowns in the McKenzie Tigers’ convincing 53-0 win over the Florala Wildcats.

The McKenzie Tigers took care of business early by mounting a sizeable 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter against the Florala Wildcats.

As the 53-0 final score would later indicate, the remaining three quarters were merely a formality.

Running back Chris Shufford kicked things off for McKenzie by leveling a Wildcat defender on his way to paydirt for the Tigers’ first score of the night.

The Tigers were equally hot defensively, as the omnipresent Jay Womack chased down Florala quarterback Avery McNeill from the weak side moments later, resulting in a fumble.

Shufford took advantage of the short field on a 27-yard sprint untouched for a 13-0 Tigers lead.

Though McNeil found more success on the ground on the Wildcats’ third drive, an illegal formation call and a sack backed Florala up for a third-and-unmanageable situation, forcing an extremely short punt to the Wildcats’ own 38-yard line.

A powerful Womack run set up Shufford for his third touchdown of the night in as many drives.

Though McNeill, alongside running back Leroy Mitchell, would control most of the clock during the second quarter, a fumble forced by Womack and recovered by William Brown would serve as the nail in the Wildcats offense’s coffin.

McKenzie head coach Tony Norris said that his players rose above the distractions of homecoming to play in what he called playoff mode.

“You always have concerns when it’s things out of the norm, like homecoming,” Norris said. “So it was very important for us to come out and make sure that we weren’t sluggish, and that we were ready to go.  And for the most part, we did that tonight.

“We looked pretty good doing some things on offense and defense, so it was good to see that the kids stayed focus and showed that, even though we had homecoming, we were still focused and ready to play.”

The second half was dominated by second-stringers on both sides, though the Tigers showed few signs of slowing down thanks to a pair of touchdowns from running back Shi Adams, who finished with 106 rushing yards on the night on three carries.

Shufford managed 120 yards on six carries for four touchdowns, and Womack added another 61 yards on four carries.

A run-heavy offense (McKenzie only threw the ball twice) averaged 17.4 yards per carry.

The Tigers face a much stiffer challenge in the Brantley Bulldogs Friday in a battle for the No. 2 position in the region.

“That’s going to be a tough challenge,” Norris said.

“Brantley’s always going to be a tough opponent year-in and year-out, so we’ve got to be in playoff mode and make sure we’re firing on all cylinders.”

The Tigers will face the Bulldogs in Brantley Friday at 7 p.m.