October 25, 2001
Tigers District Hopes Take Big Blow In 23- 6 Loss In Playoffs Opener
Any aspirations the Scotland County Tigers had for a district title took a big hit Friday night in a 23-6 loss to Marceline in the opening round of the playoffs.
SCR-I came out of the gates slowly. The Tigers took the opening kickoff and went backwards. Quarterback Aarron Holt was sacked on consecutive pass plays to back the Tigers way up and force a punt.
Chase Moore moves into to make the tackle on the Marceline ball carrier.
Marceline took the ball near midfield and wasted little time finding the end zone. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard run by fullback Zach Neblock. That set up a short touchdown run by Adam Lake to put Marceline on the scoreboard. Greg Harrison added the extra point kick to make the score 7-0.
That served as awake up call for the Tigers. The SCR-I offense came to life behind the passing game. Holt hit Curtis Cochran for the Tigers first first down. The chains moved again behind the ground game and the hard-hitting running of Jarrod Talbert.
The drive moved into scoring position when Holt hit Cochran on a 31-yard pass play to send the ball to the 10-yard line. It took four plays but on fourth down SCR-I put points on the board when Holt and Cochran once again connected, this time to cover five yards for the TD. The PAT failed, leaving SCR-I down by one, 7-6 with 1:21 left in the first period.
SCR-I got a big break on Marceline's next drive. Line-backer Jeff McBee made a huge play. He moved up to stop an option run by Marceline. He crashed into the running back just as the quarterback released the pitch. McBee was able to scoop up the fumble and further fuel the momentum for the Tigers.
Unfortunately Scotland County was unable to take advantage of the turnover and went just three plays on offense before being forced to punt.
The two teams traded punts for most of the second half. The Tigers defense made a big stop on a late Marceline drive to halt a scoring opportunity. Noseguard David Hillyer broke up a screen pass before Aaron Dale came up with his 14th tackle of the first half, stuffing a Marceline draw play in the backfield to force another punt.
Marceline got the next break as SCR-I fumbled the ball, turning it over just 21 yards from the Marceline end zone.
Lake made it just 11 yards to go on first down as he picked up 10 yards on the ground. But the Tigers defense held, with a little help from a Marceline penalty and the opposition had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Harrison to make the score 10-6 with just over a minute left in the first half.
The Tigers did not get much going on offense in the first half. SCR-I had 78 yards total offense in the first half not counting the 22 yards lost on three quarterback sacks. But the defense helped SCR-I stay close with the 10-6 deficit at half.
Marceline came out of intermission meaning business. The backfield of Lake and Neblock ate up big chunks of yardage with runs of 11, 16 and 17 yards to quickly move the ball down field to the 32-yard line. A key holding penalty against Marceline turned a run to the one-yard line back and set up long yardage for Marceline all the way back to the 24.
The SCR-I defense took over from there. Brian Harvey put pressure on the Marceline quarterback, delivering a punishing tackle to force an incomplete pass. The Tigers held on fourth and long and got the ball back on downs at the 27-yard line.
The Tigers looked poised to open up the running game as Talbert took the first hand off and picked up 13 yards. But that's as far as the drive went as Marceline tightened down the pass defense and forced SCR-I to punt.
After Marceline went three and out with a punt the Tigers appeared prepared to take the lead. The running game opened up with Jeff McBee picking up a pair of first downs as the inside ground game was opening some big holes.
But a pair of penalties backed the Tigers up. Holt took care of the extra yardage as he scrambled on a broken pass play and out ran the Marceline defense down the right sideline for 21 yards to put SCR-I in the red zone at the 20-yard line.
That was short lived as a holding penalty backed the Tigers up 10 yards. Holt got seven of those yards back with another scramble. After McBee picked up three to make it third down and 10 Marceline came up with the key defensive play with a quarterback sack. SCR-I could not convert on fourth and 19 and turned the ball over on downs at the 26.
Marceline finally broke through midway through the fourth period. Lake continued to make the big plays as he moved the chains with a pair of long runs. He then caught a pass that took the ball to the one-yard line. Neblock finished off the drive with the one-yard TD. SCR-I blocked the PAT kick to keep the score at 16-6 with 7:03 left in the game.
The Tigers went to the air to try to get some of the points back. Holt hit Kirk Stott for a good gainer. The senior receiver made a great catch on the play. The drive was stopped on the next play as Holt's pass attempt to Chase Moore was intercepted near mid field.
The Tigers defense answered the challenge and backed Marceline up and forced a punt. But the Tigers could not take advantage of a key opportunity as the snap sailed over the kickers head. He was able to retrieve the ball, elude the rush and get the punt away, costing SCR-I 30 or 40 yards on the play.
That did not matter as much two plays later when Holt hit Cochran with a pass on the right sideline. The defender missed the tackle and Cochran rambled down the sideline for 42-yards before being drug down at the 20-yard line. The duo connected once again to move the ball to the 15 before the Marceline defense stopped the drive and got the ball back on downs.
Neblock put the punctuation on the contest just three plays later as he broke through the middle of the Tigers defense and went 71-yards for the touchdown. The PAT was good to make the score 23-6 with 1:05 left in the game.
Joel Myers nearly duplicated the feat on the Tigers final play of the game as he broke through the middle of the Marceline defense and went 37 yards before being gang tackled as time ran out in the contest.
The Tigers offense had a better showing in the second half. SCR-I finished with 247 yards of total offense. The rushing game picked up 135 yards led by 42 yards from Myers on just five carries. Talbert finished with 35 yards on 13 carries while McBee added 27 yards on five carries. Holt picked up 33 yards on four carries. He also completed eight of 16 passes for 112 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Cochran got the bulk of the work with six receptions for 99 yards and one TD. Stott caught one pass and Brooks Small added a reception.
Marceline controlled the game on the ground with more than 350 yards rushing. Lake finished with 167 yards on 29 carries. Neblock went 155 yards on 16 carries. The team didn't miss much with back-up Reese Switzer gaining 27 yards on five carries. The team only completed two of nine passes for 24 yards.
The Marceline running game kept the Tigers defense on the field most of the game and made for some big tackle numbers. Dale had a season-high 24 tackles. Robbie Miller and Cochran each had 13 stops while McBee finished with 12 tackles to go along with the fumble recovery. Brett Masden added 12 tackles while Harvey and Stott each finished with seven. Talbert, Moore and Myers each added six tackles in the strong defensive performance.
The loss drops SCR-I to 4-4 on the season and 0-1 in District play. Marceline improves to 6-2 and joins Brookfield at 1-0 in the district. The latter knocked off Putnam County in the district opener and will host SCR-I Friday night in week two of the playoffs.