BY SHEA ODOM
The Greenville Standard
The McKenzie Tigers traveled to face off with the Kinston Bulldogs under the Friday night lights.
The Tigers came hungry for a win and ready for a battle. The crowd was electric and cheered them on until the final sounds of the horn as the Tigers claimed a 38-22 win over Kinston.
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff deep on the 10-yard line but was quickly met by sophomore Clayton Martin and stopped in the backfield.
Following more defensive pressure, Kinston fumbled and McKenzie recovered.
On third and goal senior Kamern “Bo” Daniels rushed into the end zone for a Tiger touchdown early in the first quarter.
Junior Jaylen McMillian completed the two point conversion on a quarterback sneak and McKenzie led 8-0 with less than seven minutes on the clock.
The Tiger defense stalled the Bulldogs, but a score on a long pass closed the gap with McKenzie keeping a one point lead with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.
The offense came back eager and ready to keep the lead alive as sophomore Jay Jackson snagged a pass for a long drive for the Tigers.
After a failed two point conversion, McKenzie increased their lead over Kinston 14-7 with 6:04 on the clock in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs were not ready to give up yet. Following a hard drive, the offense made a fast push to the red zone.
Kinston was able to capitalize on the momentum and tie the score 14-14 late in the second quarter.
Kinston took over the ball after a turn over on downs by McKenzie. Sophomore Skylar Sanders stole an interception on the 36-yard line with 22 seconds left in the first half.
The Tigers played hard nose football up the middle and opened up the defense with pressure from Martin forcing the offense to search for a way out of the backfield.
The Bulldogs were moving the ball but penalties and the Tiger defense stalled them from putting points on the board. The clock ran out and the first half closed out with a tied score 14-14.
McKenzie returned from halftime adjusted and added two scores before Sanders carried for a long touchdown and two point conversion widening the lead for the Tigers 38-14.
Kinston regained some momentum and fought their way to the end zone for a touchdown and completed the two point conversion making the score 38-22 with 8:10 left in the fourth quarter.
Kinston dug in for a chance to close the lead before the final bell sounded but Jaylen McMillian intercepted the final pass in the end zone with 39 seconds left to play giving McKenzie their first win of the season.
McKenzie will host Houston Academy this Friday night for homecoming with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Williams-Vickery Field