McKenzie falls to Ariton 42-6 at home

Published 11:54 pm Friday, August 25, 2017

A rocky McKenzie start fueled by turnovers triggered a snowball effect for Ariton as a 26 unanswered first-quarter points paved the way to a 42-6 Purple Cats win over the Tigers.

Though the Purple Cats were the first to strike, a bomb from McKenzie quarterback Daniel Gaston to receiver Jacquez Smith nearly evened the odds… but a fumble after the reception set the tone for a dejected Tigers offense.

McKenzie head football coach Tony Norris said that an Ariton onside kick recovery and a second-quarter interception proved one-too-many hurdles to clear for the Tigers.

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“The fumble was a big turning point in the game,” Norris said.

“Also, I just think we looked a little bit shell-shocked.  That’s partly Ariton doing things the right way.  We couldn’t ever get our footing, and when we eventually did halfway through the second quarter, we could never execute properly on offense, defense or special teams.  It was a long night in all three phases.”

Norris said that it would fall on him to not only correct the mistakes of Friday night in the week to come at practice, but also to encourage his players to see the bigger picture.

The Tigers won’t have much downtime to consider their loss in the season opener as they face arguably a greater challenge next week in a sizeable Class 3A threat, the Geneva Panthers.

“We’ve just got to realize that failure is not final,” Norris said.  “We’ve got to go back to work and understand that this is just one game. 

“I expect Geneva to be big and physical at the point of attack, so we’re going to have to do a really good job of trying to match that.  So it’s going to be a challenge, but I set it up that way.  I want to let us see adversity early and see how we’re going to handle it.  That way, when the games get into October and the adversity hits, we’re used to it.”

The Tigers will travel to Geneva Friday.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.