BY SHEA ODOM
The Greenville Standard
The McKenzie Tigers hosted the Florala Wildcats for homecoming and regional game this past Friday night. The Tigers dug hard for a tough battle but fell just short to the Wildcats 36-34.
Florala kicked off to McKenzie for an intense first half of play. The Tigers received the ball on the 30-yard line.
Tiger Jay Jackson then grabbed a short pass with 9:53 on the clock in the first quarter for the first touchdown of the evening. Following a missed field goal, the Tigers led 6-0.
Florala would quickly answer with a short carry to the end zone and took the lead following a successful two point conversion to make the score 8-6.
Florala continued the momentum against the Tiger defense and closed out the first quarter leading McKenzie 14-6.
In the second quarter, Tiger Johnathan Davison carried a long pass to the end zone closing the gap. Florala continued to lead 20-12 with 9:11 on the clock in the second quarter.
The Tiger defense hit the field hungry for the ball. Tiger Skylar Sanders recovered a forced fumble on the three yard line, setting McKenzie up for a first and 10. They would eventually turn it over on downs.
Then, Tiger Quay Jackson took over and leapt for a mid-air interception for the Tigers at midfield late in the second quarter.
Jackson then carried another pass reception and sprinted to the end zone for McKenzie’s third touchdown. The two point conversion was successful and the Tigers tied up the game 20-20 at the close of the first half.
After halftime, the third quarter was a stalemate and the score remained 20-20.
Florala scored first in the fourth quarter but was answered when Sanders grabbed a long pass deep in the red zone and scored for the Tigers, tying the score again.
Tiger Clayton Martin slammed an incredible 59-yard touchdown late in the fourth putting McKenzie in the lead.
The Wildcats answered with another touchdown with 2:05 on the clock which proved to be the winning and final touchdown of the evening.
Head coach Brian Bradford, “This was a tough loss for us. I thought our team played really hard all night. Florala is a very athletic, well coached team and in the end, we made a few more mistakes than they did and it cost us the game. We will continue to work hard and keep improving each week.”
The Tigers will host the Kinston Bulldogs this Friday night for a 7 p.m. kick off at Williams-Vickery Field.
The seniors will also be honored during a ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m.