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McKenzie upsets Lions

Senior running back Chris Shufford runs the ball in for a touchdown after opening kickoff. Shufford had a total of 399 yards for the night. (Tori J. Norris | The Standard)

Senior running back Chris Shufford runs the ball in for a touchdown after opening kickoff. Shufford had a total of 399 yards for the night. (Tori J. Norris | The Standard)

TORI J. NORRIS   | The Greenville Standard

 The McKenzie Tigers played through adversity Friday night to pull out a region win against Houston County 42-39

Although the Tigers scored fast with a 90-yard opening kickoff return by Chris Shufford, the game did not prove to be as easy.

During the first half, the Tigers had four turnovers giving the Houston County Lions several opportunities to advance the score. However, the Tigers defense stood strong and held them to a 26-13 lead at the half.

During halftime, the Tigers had to develop a new game plan as quarterback Daniel Gaston did not return to the game due to injury.

“We had a package within our offense to use in case we ever did lose Daniel to injury,” said Coach Tony Norris.

“So during halftime we had to make adjustments and review the game plan.”

With experienced quarterback William Brown taking snaps, the new game plan took the Tigers to 42-33 lead with only seconds left on the clock.

However, celebration was cut short when the Lions returned a kickoff for a touchdown making the score 42-39. The Lions then attempted an onside kick, which was anticipated by the Tigers who recovered it and took over on offense with victory formation.

“Houston County was a well-coached and very athletic football team,” said Coach Norris.

“They played hard and brought the fight to us.”

“The first half, we had some costly turnovers that put us behind at halftime,” said Coach Norris. “But the second half we were able to get some adjustments made and overcome those turnovers and win the game.”

The Tigers, 2-0 in region play, will host the Florala Wildcats this Friday night. “Florala can be a tough opponent,” said Coach Norris.

“We have to work on the mistakes we made this week to be prepared for our next game.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Williams-Vickery Field.

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