BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The McKenzie Tigers varsity football season came to a close Friday, Nov. 5 with their loss to the Keith Tigers of Orrville, 43-7, in their first round AHSAA playoff game.
At the start of the game, McKenzie took the opening kickoff and began marching down the field. Penalties began to set them back and then they lost RB Kamern “Bo” Daniels, a mainstay of their offense, and slowly their chance of winning began to dissolve.
After several back and forth possessions, Keith would manage to score on a short run at the 2:52 mark of the first quarter. The PAT was missed and they led 6-0.
McKenzie, undaunted, made a strong offensive drive and 10-yard run for a touchdown by senior RB Zanderion Cook at 6:35 in the second quarter.
The PAT was good and McKenzie would briefly hold a 7-6 lead. Keith would return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and convert the two point attempt, making the game score 14-7.
Late in the second quarter, a bad snap on a punt by McKenzie would give Keith the ball midway into McKenzie territory.
Keith took advantage of the short field and drove to the end zone, scoring on a short pass with four seconds left in the first half. The PAT failed and McKenzie headed to the locker room behind 20-7.
The second half would prove little better for McKenzie. Keith would add score in the third quarter and extend their lead 28-7.
In the fourth quarter, McKenzie mounted a long drive but threw an interception which was returned 90-yards by Keith for a touchdown.
Keith would score once more and the game would close with McKenzie losing 43-7.
McKenzie’s season record stands at six wins and four losses, with one of those losses the result of a forfeit due.
Five of the wins were in a row and came on strong run by the Tigers in the second half of the season, earning them a spot in the playoffs.