By: Misty Green
The Macon County High School Tigers opened the 2010 football season last Friday night, August 20, on the creek bank of Hartsville, Tennessee.
Hundreds of Tiger fans traveled to the Yellow Jacket stadium hoping to see the blue and white team give Trousdale County a fight, even though some thought the outcome might resemble last year’s 49-34 thrash, with Hartsville’s second string ruling most of the game.
The Jackets opened the first quarter with touchdown run, however the extra-point kick failed. The Tigers needed to answer the score, with a few points of their own, but were forced to turn the ball over on downs before the clock ran out.
Trousdale immediately scored on the opening possession of the second period, followed by a successful two-point conversion, to lead Macon County 14-0. The Tigers were then able to pick up their first-1st down at the Yellow Jackets 44 yard line, hoping to finally force a change of events. Zack Shockley rushed to the 36-yard line for 2&1, that was answered with a new set of downs. On the next play, the Tigers fumbled the ball, and as luck would have it, last year’s state champions was there to recover it.
Knowing this was something they could not afford to let happen, Macon County stepped up their defensive game. The Yellow Jackets picked up one yard, then threw three incomplete passes to turn the ball back over to the Tigers. Macon was racing to recover the blunder and on a 2nd & 10, Trousdale helped the Tigers achieve a free first down with unsportsmanlike conduct. Tiger quarterback Dallas Grace then landed his first complete pass to Shockley, who landed just short of a new set of downs at the 31 yard line. Illegal procedure was called against Macon County, placing the football on the 36. Tyler Drown rushed for three yards, followed by a run by Shockley, placing the ball on the 29. Two in-completes turned the ball back over to TCHS. Maverick Hesson stopped Hartsville at the 26 yard line, however the next play held a complete pass that ended in a 54-yard touchdown for Hartsville, TCHS 21, Macon County 0.
Zack Shockley returned the ball from the 10 to the 36 yard line, where the Tigers proceeded to set up shop, with 2:37 left in the second period. Dallas Grace sailed a complete pass to Tyler Eller, who rushed to the 46 yard line.
Extracurricular activities from the Jackets ended in a 15-yard penalty, placing the ball on the 30, then a quarterback keeper put the line of scrimmage at the 19 yard line. Two hand-offs from Grace to Shockley landed the Tigers at the eight-yard line. Grace scored Macon County’s first touchdown of the night, however laundry was thrown on the field due to illegal motion against the Tigers, nulling the points, and moving MCHS back to the 14. Time was quickly dwindling, and the Tigers needed to make their mark in the first half. Coming to the line, Grace threw a complete pass to Eller who was tackled just short of the goal. 0:18 marked the game clock. An incomplete pass used the third down. On the Tigers last shot in the half, Grace faked a keeper and sailed the ball towards Tyler Eller waiting in the endzone, but the ball was tipped by a Yellow Jacket defender. With no time left on the clock, junior TE/LB Jacob Salyer jumped up from behind the line to complete the pass and grab the touchdown. Freshman kicker Carson Cook aimed the ball through the uprights to enter the halftime break with seven points of their own. Macon 7, Trousdale 21.
“We finally put one in the endzone,” Tiger’s new head coach Mark Pemberton said entering the locker room, “We plan to continue doing the same,” he smiled.
Trousdale achieved another touchdown in the middle of the third quarter, to lead Macon 28-7. At 2:29, the football was in the Tiger’s possession. At the 20 yard line, MCHS was on their third try and needed one yard to pick up a new set of downs. Dallas Grace’s complete pass to Jacob Salyer picked up the yard, however referees blew the whistle. As the call came in, the bleachers roared when Trousdale County was cited for pulling a horse collar, placing the ball on over to the 7-yard line. On the next play, Grace was attempting a QB keeper, but didn’t like what he saw, and called for a time out. Returning to the line of scrimmage, Grace threw a complete pass to Salyer for the touchdown, followed by Cook’s extra-pt. kick. Tigers now trail 28-14.
The kick return after the touchdown placed the Yellow Jackets at the 30-yard line with less than one minute remaining in the quarter.
Hartsville’s quarterback released the pass. Tiger nose guard Alex Bilbrey shifted spots and tackled the intended Jacket, as Grace intercepted for a 54-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick was good, Macon 21, Trousdale 28.
Carson Cook signaled to kickoff the football and missed his aim, accidently hitting one of the side-line cheerleaders, who was uninjured. With fifteen seconds left in the third quarter, Trousdale County opened up a hole that ended in the endzone, to now lead 35-21.
Opening the fourth quarter, Macon County’s Zack Shockley barreled through the line of scrimmage to add another touchdown to Macon’s side of the scoreboard. The extra-points failed, Macon County shadowed Trousdale 35-27.
The fourth quarter passed quickly as both teams continued giving their all. Macon County fought hard to recover and Trousdale seemed stunned at their improved Tiger opponent.
The Yellow Jackets kept possession of the ball for most of the last period, until the Tigers forced a turnover by blocking a 28-yard field goal attempt, with 2:34 left in the contest. Macon County was unable to capitalize any additional touchdowns, and as time ran out on the clock, Hartsville added one more run to the scoreboard to make the final score 48-27.
The Tigers were down 21-0 by the in-house defending state champions and was only one touchdown behind at one point in the game. It has been several years since the tables were close to being turned, giving Tigers fans hope for the future games to come.
Macon County plans to host the Commanders of Friendship Christian next Friday, August 27, 2010. Kick off at 7 p.m. Watch out Friendship Christian, there’s a new team in town.