Scotland County overcame injuries and a halftime deficit to celebrate senior night in Memphis with a 56-42 victory over Putnam County in a shootout.
The Tigers jumped on top early, taking the opening kickoff and putting together a seven-play 7- yard scoring drive. The big play came on a 43-yard TD run by Aaron Buford. Gage Dodge’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 9:10 remaining in the first period.
A good kick return by the Midgets pushed the ball across midfield. From there it took just one play to answer as Putnam County quarterback Calvin Heidenwith faked out the SCR-I defense and scampered 42 yards for the score. Carsen Quint ran in the two-point conversion to give the Midgets the 8-7 lead with 8:51 left in the first period.
SCR-I quickly moved into scoring position but eventually turned the ball over on downs. The Tigers not only lost the ball, but starting quarterback Will Fromm, who left the game with a broken collar bone.
The Tigers got the ball back when Aaron Blessing recovered a Putnam County fumble at the 47-yard line with 3:34 left in the opening period.
The teams traded turnovers however as Quint picked off a long pass attempt from Buford to Jade Holt.
Putnam turned the turnover into points seven plays later when Quint broke a 23-yard TD run. Quint ran in the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-7 with 11:44 left in the second quarter.
Ryan Slaughter gave the Tigers good field position with a kick return to midfield. SCR-I got into the red zone with a 31-yard catch and run by Gage Dodge. But the Tigers could not punch the ball in and turned it over on downs inside the 10 yard line.
The Tigers defense answered, backing Putnam up to the one-yard line with three straight tackles for losses. That set up a punt block by Ian See. Jade Holt pounced on the loose ball in the end zone for the touchdown with 7:46 left in the first half. Holt ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 16-15.
The Midgets caught a break on the ensuing kickoff, when it appeared that SCR-I had recovered a fumble, that the officials ruled was controlled by the return team.
Heidenwith took advantage of the break, leading his team on a 60-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a three-yard run by the quarterback. Quint ran in the two-point play to extend the lead to 24-15.
SCR-I looked to be in trouble when two plays later, Buford’s pass deflected off the hands of Slaughter and was snatched out of the air for an interception.
Quint made the Tigers pay for their second turnover of the first half, scoring on the very next play on a 22-yard TD run. SCR-I held on the two-point run to keep the lead at 30-15 with 2:32 left in the first half.
Scotland County answered right back as Buford kept the ball on the option read and broke a pair of tackles en route to a 63-yard score. He then hit Slaughter with a pass for the two-point conversion to trim the deficit to 30-23.
Blessing came up with a key sack that sealed a defensive stop to send SCR-I to the locker room trailing just 30-23.
Coach Mikel Gragg and his staff used the intermission to make the necessary adjustments on defense to slow down Heidenwith.
Slaughter gave his team the momentum with an interception on Putnam’s opening possession of the third period.
The two teams traded punts before SCR-I found the end zone on its second possession of the second half. On fourth down, Buford broke a 12-yard TD run to pull the Tigers within 30-29 to end the third period.
The SCR-I defense forced another three and out by the Midgets and Slaughter brought the home crowd to its feet when he returned the punt 65 yards for the touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 35-30 with 11:08 left to play.
But the Midgets came right back with a long kickoff return that left them just 37 yards from the end zone. Heidenwith picked up a key fourth down conversion. Tanner Bondy gave the Midgets the lead back when he scored from nine-yards out with 8:30 left to play to make the score 36-35.
Dodge gave the Tigers the momentum back with a first down catch followed up by a first down run. Buford then found Slaughter behind the defense for a 36-yard TD pass to make the score 41-26 with 6:38 left to play.
Riley Kliethermes stripped the Putnam return man on the ensuing kickoff return and Griffin Kerkmann recovered the fumble at the seven yard line. That setup a TD run by Buford. Chester Robinson ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 49-36.
Ian See snatched a one-handed interception out of the air at midfield to keep the momentum with the Tigers.
SCR-I marched down the field behind the ground attack of seniors Holt and Robinson, with Holt capping off the drive with a hard-fought 18-yard TD run. Dodge nailed the PAT kick to make the score 56-36 with 1:32 left to play.
That proved just enough time for one last Putnam County score, thanks to a huge kickoff return. Will Pickerell saved the TD with a tackle at the seven yard line, but the Midgets scored with 11 seconds left on a two yard TD pass to Quint that made the final score 56-42.
The tigers racked up 382 yards of total offense. Buford ran the ball 16 times for 188 yards and four TDs. He also completed five of 15 passes for 91 yards and a TD. See had three receptions for 27 yards. Dodge caught two passes for 36 yards while Slaughter added the TD grab. Holt carried the ball 15 times for 67 yards and a TD.
Pickerell led the SCR-I defense with 11 tackles. See had nine stops while Mason Kliethermes, Buford and Slaughter each made eight tackles.