The ‘Battle of 8 Mile’
BY RAY VAN COR
The Greenville Standard
Georgiana was home for a county cat fight this past Friday night. Under the lights of Harmon field, the Panthers of Georgiana squared off against their lower county rivals, the Tigers of McKenzie.
This county scrap is dubbed ‘The Battle of 8 mile.’ More than a game, it is a 1A Region 1 matchup and holds county bragging rights until the next year for the victor.
The Panthers were winless going into Friday night’s fracas with a recent loss to the Samson Tigers, 34–6.
Georgiana was 0-8 overall and dead last in 1A Region 1. The mid-county cats were desperately searching for a check in the win column.
This game was probably the last opportunity this season for a Georgiana win, considering they have to face the 7–1 2A Tigers of Luverne. In their defense, Panther’s head coach Barry Bess took the reins just two weeks before the season kicked off and the cats are very young.
The navy blue and gold Tigers of McKenzie were 4-4 overall and 4th in 1A Region 1 for this gridiron melee.
The Tigers prowled into the stadium confidently, boasting a four-game winning streak. In three of their previous skirmishes the Tigers scored over 40 points or more per game and only allowed a total of 56 points scored against them in all four.
Georgiana won the coin toss and it was all downhill from there, going four and out on the first possession.
Then McKenzie had their first play from scrimmage and it resulted in a touchdown and that would be the story for the rest of the half.
Leading 7-0, McKenzie then intercepted a pass two plays into Georgiana’s next possession and capitalized by scoring three plays later and doubling their lead 14-0.
Despite all efforts, it seemed the Panther offense couldn’t mount a consistent drive. Their defense resembled a deer in the headlights and could not find an answer for the Tigers running attack.
McKenzie scored again, and again with 8:49 on the clock in the second quarter. McKenzie scored again this time running for the two-point conversion, bringing the tally to 28-0.
The Tigers scored at will or so it seemed and they added two more touchdowns by the end of the first half. It was a lop sided 42-0, all Tigers.
The Panthers came out for the second half with a different mindset and attitude. The defense bristled and Georgiana held McKenzie to no points in both third and the fourth quarters.
The struggling offense managed to score late in the third quarter, putting six in the tally books, with around three minutes to go. The fourth quarter was a short stalemate and with the final buzzer a 42-6 victory for the Tigers of McKenzie and bragging rights for the year.
McKenzie will next travel Friday, Nov. 5, to Orrville and take on the Bears of Keith High in the first round of 1A playoffs.
The Bears are currently 7-1 overall, 5-0 in league play and 1st in 1A Region 3. The Bears have to face Isabell next Friday night before tangling with The Tigers.
There is a Butler County connection for this game. Keith’s head coach is none other than Harry Crum. Crum is a Greenville native, former Greenville Tiger quarterback, and former Tuskegee Golden Tiger stand-out quarterback.
The Tigers will have their paws full when they face the Bears.