McKenzie falls to Kinston on homecoming

Published 12:07 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

Despite a valiant third-quarter comeback, the McKenzie Tigers fell to the Kinston Bulldogs 57-28 on homecoming night.

The loss sinks the Tigers to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in region play.

A first half of missed opportunities was nearly put away for good at the top of the third quarter as the Bulldogs took the opening second-half kickoff to the house for a 28-6 lead.

The Tigers responded in kind on the ensuing kickoff, however, taking the ball to the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line and punching it in to narrow the gap.

The Tigers kept chipping away until the Bulldogs’ lead was reduced to a single score, though the field position battle eventually shifted in Kinston’s favor.

That, combined with the Tigers’ struggles to capitalize on crucial moments, allowed the Bulldogs to turn the tide in the fourth.

“Our kids fought back, and I was proud of them for that,” said head McKenzie football coach Tony Norris.

“We just couldn’t get that timely stop.  Sometimes, that’s what it takes—a timely stop to get everybody some energy and a boost of confidence and morale.  We had chances—we had them stopped in the backfield a few times.  But they just did a good job of running power read with the quarterback and going from there.”

The Tigers’ path to the playoffs doesn’t get any easier from here, as McKenzie faces an undefeated Georgiana Panthers team Friday.  The Tigers will also close out the season against the Brantley Bulldogs. 

In-county rivalry aside, Norris said that the Panthers would prove a handful.

“We’ll get the film on them and we’ll see what we need to do to be successful,” Norris said. “You never know—that’s the reason we play the game.

“Coach Powell is going to have his kids well coached and ready to go—I have no doubt about that.  And we’re going to do our part.  When we get in the game, we’ll see where it goes. We’ve just got to get back Monday and get back to work.”

The Tigers and Panthers will square off in McKenzie Friday.  Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.