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McKenzie falls to Geneva, slips to 0-2

Three yards and a prayer separated the McKenzie Tigers from their first win in hostile Geneva territory Friday night.

But an ill-timed turnover on downs ended the Tigers’ chances to reverse their fortune as McKenzie fell to the Panthers of Geneva 27-14.

McKenzie head football coach Tony Norris said that the turnover on downs was a crucial turning point in the night, but it was hardly the first misstep for the Tigers.

Despite that, he was much more impressed with McKenzie’s fight on the road with Geneva than its season opener at home.

“In the third quarter, we were down by one score, and we got it down to the 2-yard line,” Norris said. “And we had a couple of penalties and false starts, and that got us late in the third.

“But the kids played hard.  We went into the game a little banged up, but I told them we weren’t going to make any excuses.  We’re going to keep playing, keep working and keep getting better.”

The Tigers now sit at 0-2 after a difficult start to the season with Ariton and Geneva, though McKenzie will begin season play Friday with Pleasant Home at home.

“We jump into the season inside of a season,” Norris said. “And I told them after the game that all of the goals that we want to accomplish are still right there in front of us.  We’ve played two pretty good teams at the start of the year that put us through some early trials to see what we’re made of.  Last year, I didn’t like the way we responded.  This week, we responded well.”

The Tigers will open region play against a team that they have historically done very well against.  McKenzie hasn’t lost to Pleasant Home since 2011.

But Norris isn’t taking the Eagles lightly.

“Each week is different,” he said. “Each game will have its own challenge, so we’ll just have to go back to work this week and get ready for Pleasant Home.”