A key injury to tailback Alex Long may have been the difference maker in a perfect season for the Scotland County Junior High Football team. The Tigers had to settle for a 5-1 mark after losing Long early in the second half of week three action against Davis County. Without their leading rusher, SCR-I saw a first half lead evaporate and a last minute score by the Mustangs gave Davis County a 24-20 win.
The Tigers opened the season with a 30-22 victory over North Shelby in Memphis. The team put points on the board both on offense and defense in the very competitive matchup.
“We jumped out to a 22-0 lead at half, but held on in the second half for the win,” said Coach Nathan Pippert. “North Shelby had an excellent quarterback who threw for three touchdowns in the second half. North Shelby turned the ball over on downs with about 2 minutes left and we were able to run out the clock to hold on for the victory.”
The Tigers defense pitched a shutout in the first half versus Clark County and the team improved to 2-0 with a 32-16 win over the Indians.
Clark County rallied to pull within 24-16 in the 3rd quarter, before SCR-I scored a touchdown at the start of the 4th quarter to help seal the win.
The lone blemish on Scotland County’s record came in game #3 as Davis County rallied for the 24-20 win.
“We had the lead throughout the game, but Davis County mounted a comeback in the 4th quarter to score the final touchdown with one minute remaining,” said Coach Kody McCluskey.
“Key injuries and missed assignments on special teams limited our number of offensive possessions in the second half, and several other mistakes on defense allowed Davis County to come from behind to hand us our only loss on the year,” said Pippert.
Scotland County rebounded with a 36-24 victory at Schuyler County. The Tigers jumped out to an early 22-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We were able to rest a lot of our starters,” said McCluskey. “Both the offense and defense scored again.”
The Rams didn’t fair any better in a week five rematch in Memphis as SCR-I rolled to a 48-12 win. The Tigers not only got touchdowns from the offense, but the defense once again put points on the board, as did special teams.
SCR-I wrapped up the year with a 42-24 in Edina.”Our offense also had to sustain several scoring drives to put Knox away in the second half,” said McCluskey.
Throughout the season the Tigers were led on offense by Alex and Hayden Long. Hayden was the team’s quarterback and did an excellent job running the option. Alex was the team’s main running back and also caught a few passes out of the backfield.
“Both of the Long boys scored on offense, defense, and special teams,” said Pippert.
Not only did the Long’s help lead the way, but Corbyn Spurgeon, Owen Triplett, Riley Small, and Lucas Durflinger scored at various times running the football during the season.
Trayton Buckallew and Kabe Hamlin were the top receivers who also did an excellent job of blocking for the running backs according to McCluskey.
“Our offense couldn’t have accomplished what it did without the leadership and blocking of our starters Eli Kigar, Kale Creek, Zane See, Zac Behrens, and Eric Mohr on the offensive line,” said Pippert.
Aaron McDaniel, Tamara Vaughn, Randi Green, and Shire Gross were all back-ups on the offensive line who were able to help on the offensive line when called upon.
The defensive linemen, Eli Kigar, Kale Creek, Zane See, and Kabe Hamlin, Shire Gross, Lucas Ebeling, Tamara Vaughn, Randi Green, Eric Mohr, Aaron McDaniel, and Zac Behrens led the stout SCR-I defense.
“They all did an excellent job keeping the offensive linemen off our linebackers and getting in the backfield to cause pressure on the quarterback and running backs,” said Pippert.
Alex Long, Hayden Long, Brant Frederick, Aiden Frederick, and Will Montgomery played linebacker while the defensive backs were Trayton Buckallew, Corbyn Spurgeon, Owen Triplett, Riley Small, Jess Girardin, Lucas Durflinger, and Jaxom Wolfe.
“It was a great season,” said Pippert. “Every player received valuable playing time and experience that will help each player as they move into the upper levels. Thank you to all the parents and community for their awesome support throughout the season.”