TORI J. NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
The McKenzie Tigers and the Georgiana Panthers met for the annual Battle of 8 miles last Friday night in Georgiana. The game had more than the friendly in county rivalry on the line; it also determined who would take over the top spot in 1A region 2. After a tough battle, the Panthers came out on top with a 42-32 victory over the Tigers.
The Tigers dominated the first half of the game and headed to the locker room with a 26-12 lead at the half, with touchdowns by William Brown, Quindario Lee, Chris Shufford and Jacquez Smith.
But after the half, it was Georgiana who had the momentum and put up 30 points to bring them to the top. The Panthers did not count on just one person to score touchdowns. JaMichael Stallworth scored twice and Derrick Johnson and Christian Williams each scored once, with the additional efforts of point after attempts and a safety in the second half.
Tigers head coach Tony Norris was proud of the effort that his team had. “We had guys that had to step up and play hard,” said Coach Norris. “I feel like we had several players who took on that role. We just came up short in the end.”
Georgiana head coach Ezell Powell has mixed emotions on the overall performance of his team last Friday night. “I saw early that the team wanted to make the game bigger than it was,” said Coach Powell. “McKenzie is a big game, but we were making it too big and pressing too much and not playing like we normally do.”
At halftime, Coach Powell addressed the team’s performance. “I told them to go out there and not try to beat McKenzie but just beat the other team,” said Coach Powell. “We returned in the second half with more energy and passion and effort that worked in our favor.”
The Tigers have two more region games for the season, Red Level and Brantley. “In order to host the first round playoff game in McKenzie, we need to win these two games,” said Coach Norris. “Our focus now is on Red Level.”
The Panthers still have to face Pleasant Home and Houston Academy. “We will try to eliminate mistakes and just keep working on the fundamentals of the game, which is what we need to make sure we do as we head into the post season, executing offense and defense, ” said Coach Powell.
McKenzie will host Red Level and Georgiana will host Pleasant Home this Friday. Both teams will recognize their seniors during the game. Kickoffs are scheduled for 7 pm.