November 18, 2004

Tigers Football Season Ends In Playoff Opener

Some football teams, simply put, are a one-man show. On Wednesday night it was a Nanneman show that did in the Scotland County Tigers as Marcelines Tyler Nanneman nearly single-handedly led his team to a 23-0 win over SCR-I in the first round of Class 1 state playoffs.

Nanneman put his team on top in the first period. The defensive line deflected a Marcus Shalley pass attempt and the senior defensive back snatched the ball out of the air just before it hit the ground. The speedster outran the Tigers pursuit and scored from 34-yards out. He then drilled the extra-point kick to give Marceline a 7-0 lead with 7:39 left in the opening frame.

The contest became a game of field possession for the rest of the first half as neither team could get much going offensively.

Nanneman helped his team win the field advantage. First he buried the Tigers deep in their own territory with a booming punt to the five-yard line. Then when the Tigers were forced to punt, it was that kid again. Nanneman grabbed the Greg Neagle punt and returned it 26 yards all the way to the 16-yard line.

The Tigers defense stuffed Marcelines first three plays bringing Nanneman in to attempt what would have been a 28-yard field goal. But the kicker took the snap directly and rolled out to the right side where he threw a perfect pass to Mick Niemeier for an 11-yard touchdown. Nanneman then split the uprights on the PAT to give Marceline a 14-0 advantage with 4:36 left in the first half.

Despite limiting Marceline to just two first downs in the opening half of the game, SCR-I found itself trailing 14-0 at halftime. The Tigers managed just four first downs of their own in the games first 24 minutes, never mounting a true scoring threat.

The visitors had just 55 yards of total offense in the first half. Scotland County had twice as many yards but lost the field position battle that set up the two scores.

Marceline dashed the Tigers hopes with a dominating drive to open the third period. Zach Bruner capped off a hard-fought drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 6:59 left in the quarter. Nanneman made the PAT kick to build a 21-0 margin for Marceline.

The one-man show played a part in the teams final score as his punt once again trapped the Tigers deep. Linebacker Ben Mosier chased down Shalley in the end zone for a safety to make the score 23-0 with less than 30 ticks left on the clock in the third quarter.

It was fitting that the fourth period highlighted the teams tacklers as the playoff game definitely was a true defensive struggle. Neither team mounted much offense in the games final 12 minutes.

While Marceline fared better on the scoreboard in the first half, the numbers indicated the team actually played better in the second half.

SCR-I managed just one first down in the second half and that came courtesy of a penalty. Marceline on the other hand picked up 11 first downs and moved the ball much better after the intermission.

Jared Shelley finished with 102 yards on 18 carries to lead the Tigers offense. Tim Robinson added 15 yards on six attempts. Marcus Shalley completed 2-of-13 passes for 12 yards. Shelley took over for the injured Shalley late in the game and completed 1-of-6 pass attempts. Matt Wickert had two catches and Zach McBee made the other grab.

Zach Bruner led Marceline with 76 yards on 20 attempts. Overall the visitors rushed for 172 yards of rushing on 45 attempts. Jerret Fisher completed 4-of-10 passes for 51 yards.

Greg Neagle led the Tigers defense with 12 tackles including five for losses. Shelley made 11 stops and McBee and Karl Snyder each had nine tackles. Joe Talbert made seven stops and added a quarterback sack.

The Tigers closed out the year with a 6-5 mark. Marceline (8-3) advanced to the state quarterfinals to face East Buchanan (11-0).

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