BY SHEA ODOM
The Greenville Standard
The McKenzie Tigers traveled to match up with the undefeated Samson Tigers in a hard fought AHSAA 1A regional game, Friday, Sept. 17.
Both McKenzie and Samson came to win, and battled fiercely. Samson eventually carried the win home in a close 36-28 game.
McKenzie opened the first quarter with momentum and speed being the first Tiger to reach the end zone.
Sophomore Tray Rudolph made a long run, setting up for senior Zanderion Cook to score a touchdown after a short carry. The point after try (PAT) failed and McKenzie led early in the first quarter 6-0.
Samson quickly answered with a touchdown on their first drive. The following try for a two point conversion by a pass failed leaving the score tied at six all at the end of the first quarter. 6-6
In the second quarter, McKenzie recovered a Samson fumble on their own five yard line and marched the length of the field to capitalize on the turnover with a touchdown and a successful PAT.
Samson again quickly answered with a touchdown and successful two point conversion. They attempted an onside kick but it was covered up by McKenzie sophomore Kaleb Odom at midfield.
McKenzie began to march and Kamern “Bo” Daniels broke a 30-yard run for a touchdown. The two point try was successful and gave the Tigers a 21-14 lead.
Samson was able to score on their next possession but they did not convert on the extra point attempt. As the first half closed, McKenzie led 21-20.
Both Tiger teams return from halftime recharged and ready for another round of physical football.
Samson opened the second half with another onside kick but was recovered on the 49-yard line by McKenzie freshman Eli Blackmon.
On the ensuing drive, Cook would break through the line and run the ball for a touchdown. The PAT afterwards was successful and McKenzie widened the gap 28-20.
Again, Samson answered by recovering a McKenzie fumble and scored another touchdown and completed the two point attempt leaving the score tied at 28.
Samson would score again in the fourth quarter and give McKenzie a devastating loss 36-28.
The 1-4 McKenzie Tigers will travel to face off against the 0-3 Panthers of J.F. Sheilds this Thursday night for a non-regional game.