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Brantley edges McKenzie in battle for No. 2 seed

After climbing out of the hole the McKenzie Tigers dug themselves early against the Brantley Bulldogs, an ill-timed miscommunication on fourth down and short dashed the Tigers’ comeback hopes as the Bulldogs hung on to a 22-16 win.

The first half was all Brantley as the Bulldogs attacked a shell-shocked Tigers team to jump out to an early 15-0 lead.

But the breather at the half did wonders for the Tigers’ offense—and particularly the Tigers’ defense, who wouldn’t allow the Bulldogs into the end zone again.

A slow, methodical and time-consuming drive allowed the Tigers to strike first in the third quarter, but a kickoff return for a touchdown once again put the Bulldogs just out of reach.

But the Tigers responded in kind with a second score to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just six, though it wasn’t until just minutes remaining in the fourth that McKenzie seemed primed to strike and take the lead.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, a disastrous fourth down saw the Bulldogs capitalizing on a miscommunication at the line of scrimmage, recovering the ball and ending McKenzie’s comeback drive.

McKenzie head football coach Tony Norris said that, despite the loss, the Tigers’ second-half effort was among the most impressive he’s seen all season.

“The kids played hard the second half—really hard—and I couldn’t have been prouder of our effort tonight,” Norris said. “We just came up on the short end of the stick.

“But we’ll learn from it and get better from it.  I really do believe we’ve gotten better over the past couple of weeks.”

The McKenzie Tigers will face J.U. Blacksher in their final regular season game of the year Friday.