TORI J. NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
McKenzie started off their 2016 season by taking on the 2A Ariton Purple Cats last Friday night. Although the Tigers put in four quarters of hard work, they fell to the Purple Cats 33-26.
The Tigers were the first to put seven points on the scoreboard when quarterback Daniel Gaston through a pass to Quindairo Lee for an early first quarter touchdown which was followed by a successful point after attempt by William Brown.
The Purple Cats answered back quickly with a touchdown, however their point after kick was unsuccessful leaving the score 7-6 after the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter McKenzie added points to the scoreboard as Gaston connected with senior Seth Keeney for a touchdown pass. The point after attempt failed making the score 13-6. Senior Chris Shufford would advance the Tigers score to 19 points before halftime, however the Purple Cats added three touchdowns to their score ending the half 26-19.
In the second half, Ariton increased their lead over McKenzie to 33-19. Shufford scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter that made the score 33-26 with 2:05 left in the game.
The Tigers attempted an onside kick that ended up one yard short, giving the Purple Cats possession of the ball for the rest of the game.
Head Coach Tony Norris knew this would be a tough test for the Tigers. “I thought that we threw the ball well and we showed a little bit of fight and resolve in the second half,” said Coach Norris.
With only 24 Tigers on the roster, player assignments are important. “The biggest thing we have to improve on going forward this week is trying to figure out a way to get some depth,” said Coach Norris. “We have to figure out where everyone fits and can help. We have to figure out a way to get the younger guys a way to contribute to the game.”
McKenzie will host 3A Geneva Panthers at Williams Vickery Field on Friday night at 7 p.m. “This will be another big test for our team,” said Coach Norris. “I hope that we can go in against a good quality opponent and work on some of the things we need to improve on from this week. It is a test to see how we face adversity.”