Cats fight in the Battle of Eight Mile
BY SHEA ODOM
The Greenville Standard
The McKenzie Tigers hosted longtime rivals, Georgiana Panthers under wet Friday night lights at Williams-Vickery field.
The Tigers came ready for the Battle of Eight Mile, but the Panthers came prepared for victory.
The rain did not slow down the electricity in the filled stands for both teams. The crowd was anxious to see who would take away another year of bragging rights.
Georgiana pulled away the win with a 28-0 shutout against the Tigers.
After McKenzie kicked off, the Panthers started on the 25-yard line and advanced down field with a hard fought running game.
After several successful first down attempts, Georgiana found the end zone using up seven minutes of first quarter play. PAT attempt was no good and the Panthers led 6-0.
Senior Kamern “Bo” Daniels received the ensuing kick-off for the Tigers and had 40-yard return setting McKenzie up with good field position.
Despite the forward march downfield to the Panther red zone, the Tigers stalled out with an off sides penalty.
The Panther defensive line stiffened up and stopped the offense in the back field on several plays. The Tigers are unable to market on this possession.
After four and out, Georgiana punted the ball and McKenzie took over on the 50-yard line following a short return.
The Tigers started to march down the field on the ground. Junior Tray Rudolph and Daniels had several short carries for McKenzie.
On a very wet third and six, the Tigers fumbled the ball and the Panthers recovered with 4:35 left in the first half.
Georgiana was unable to gain yardage and turned over the ball on downs.
McKenzie had another failed possession with a Panther interception with 2:18 seconds to go in the first half.
Georgiana regrouped with the help of penalties by the Tigers and went deep in to the red zone.
The Panthers had a first and goal with 1:10 left in the half and the offense line bulldozed their way in to the end zone.
Georgiana led McKenzie 12-0 after another dropped PAT at the close of first half.
The Tigers receive the kick off opening the second half. Daniels then made a run to the 40-yard line for a first down.
McKenzie fell victim to a drenched field for another slippery fumble and the Panthers recovered.
Following the fumble recovery, Junior Jayden McMillian snagged an interception for the Tigers on the 21-yard line.
McKenzie pushed for positive yard gains, but were unable to find the red zone.
Georgiana eventually complete pass to the end zone for a score. The PAT was successful and widened the lead to 20-0 with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers were unable to connect after several pass attempts but maintained possession of the ball with a solid running game.
Georgiana eventually scored again on a short run around the left end making the score 28-0 with a two point conversion.
Sophomore Levi Lee returned the kickoff to the 25-yard line for the Tigers but McKenzie was unable to turn the possession into points.
Following a long and wet fourth quarter, Georgiana claimed ultimate victory and another year of bragging rights.
McKenzie will travel to Brantley to meet the Bulldogs in region play for a 7 p.m. kick off this Friday. Georgiana will host the Florala Wildcats for a region game.