The Macon County Tigers advanced to the Class 4A TSSAA quarterfinals with a win over Region 3-4A #1 seed Red Bank. The game was the third meeting in as many years between the two teams in the playoffs.
Many Tiger faithful made the trip down to Chattanooga to see this second round match-up. Neither team was able to muster any type of offense for most of the first quarter of the game. On the first play of the second period Macon capped an eight play 71 yard drive with a quarterback sneak by Luke Gammon. Brother Eli Gammon made the PAT and Macon led 7-0 with 11:23 left in the half.
Two plays later, while scrambling, Red Bank scored on a 77 yard touchdown pass and extra point. It was the only positive yardage for the Lions in two quarters. That is how the game went to the break, tied 7-7.
With 6:50 left in the third quarter Zach Borders scored on a six yard run. Eli Gammon converted the kick and the Tigers led 14-0. Newly acquired ‘River-Boat Gambler’ Coach Kyle Shoulders appeared to call an onside kick, and when that was called back due to penalty rolled the dice, appeared to call it again, and it worked. Luke Gammon hit Gabe Borders on a 38 yard touchdown pass three plays later and Eli Gammon converted the extra point kick. With 4:00 left in the third quarter all the momentum tilted the Tiger direction and they led 21-7.
Late in the last quarter the Tigers were just trying to run out the clock. However the Lions were cramming the box with eight or nine defenders. So what do the Tigers do on third and long? Luke Gammon hits Tyler Gregory on a 74 yard pass down to the Lion twenty. As the Lions use all their time-outs to stop the clock, and on fourth and about four yards, Macon rolls the dice again. Gabe Borders hits a wide-open Kelan Hire for a 15 yard touchdown pass and Eli Gammon converts the PAT. This broke their back with 2:17 left in contest. Final score Macon Co 28 Red Bank 7.
For the game quarterback Luke Gammon was 6 of 7 passing for 144 yards and one touchdown. Bradon Warren had a great game from the fullback position rushing 13 times for 121 yards. Zach Borders ran 15 times for 76 yards and one score while twin brother Gabe Borders ran 12 times for 60 yards and a score, passed once for 15 yards and a score, and caught five balls for 79 yards and another score (which is why he is a Class 4A ‘Mr Football’ semifinalist). Tyler Gregory had one catch for 74 yards and Kelan Hire one catch for 15 yards and a touchdown.
For as prolific as the Tiger offense was, the defense once again turned in a terrific performance. Red Bank had only 202 total yards (77 on one play) and finished the game 1 of 11 on third down conversions. Tyler Gregory led the way with seven tackles and half of a sack followed by Dalton Slayton with six stops. Gabe Borders, Isiah Cates and Bradon Warren each had four. Four of these five players are in the ‘front seven’ of the defense which is good to see.
With the win the Tigers advance to the quarterfinals (final eight) of the playoffs and will now travel to the Region 4-4A #1 seed Upperman. The Tigers only loss of the season came at home in a close 14-7 game. This sure shapes up to be a big game with kick-off scheduled Friday Nov 17th at 7 pm.
(Photos by Julie Collins)