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By Corey Stott
MEMPHIS, Mo.- 9/3/21- Head coach Troy Carper saw his Scotland County Tigers (0-2) outplay a Marceline team, generally considered to be a top team in the Lewis and Clark Conference, for most of the game before having it slip away in the final minutes in week one. A week two matchup with the Fayette Falcons (2-0) delivered a strong case of déjà vu for Carper. The Falcons stole a 34- 31 win with a rushing touchdown with 3:53 remaining in the game. It was the first lead for Fayette since their 8-7 lead at the 8:53 mark of the second quarter.
“We’re tired of the better team losing,” Carper said in comments after the game. “This one’s pretty rough. Two weeks in a row when you think you’re the better team and come up on the short end of the stick. We’re gonna learn a lot about ourselves this week because we have two options. We can come out and get better or everything will fall apart.”
The Tigers received the opening kickoff and put together an impressive drive that saw them march all the way to the Fayette 1-yard line. After picking up four first downs, the Tigers had 1st and goal at the 4-yard line. Scotland County attempted four rushes but were stopped just short of the goal line on 4th and one.
Fayette put together an impressive drive of their own in response. They crossed midfield and penetrated to the SC 33-yard line before the drive stalled out at the 41-yard line, resulting in a punt.
Scotland County took over at their own 42-yard line and moved into scoring position after a Hayden Long 30-yard run on 4th and seven. On the next play, Long rolled left and hit Corbyn Spurgeon for the touchdown. In an added wrinkle that had not been seen for a long time in the Tiger arsenal, Spurgeon drilled the extra point kick. SC led 7-0 with 9:05 left in the first half.
Fayette took the ensuing squib kick from Trayton Buckallew at their own 46-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Falcon running back Garren Vroman ran it in for the 54-yard touchdown. Quarterback Ben Wells’ pass to Logan Wiswall for the two-point conversion made it 8-7 Fayette with 8:53 to play in the half.
On the next drive, the Tiger offense did a good job of mixing it up. A combination of runs by Buckallew and passes to Owen Triplett set the Tigers up for a 10- yard touchdown strike from Long to Spurgeon. The hold was muffed on the extra point kick attempt, and the Tigers regained the lead 13-8 with 5:32 remaining in the first half.
After stopping the Falcons on the next drive, the Tigers regained the ball with 2:42 remaining in the half. Scotland County went into the two-minute drill and extended the lead as time expired in the first half with a 1-yard Hayden Long quarterback dive on 1st and goal from the Fayette 1-yard line. The two-point attempt was no good and Scotland County took the 19-8 lead to the halftime locker room.
The Falcons took the second half kickoff and needed only 9 plays to find pay dirt when Wells scrambled to his right on 2nd and goal from the 1-yard line for the rushing touchdown with 7:58 remaining in the third quarter. Wells hit Vroman on a wide open up and out for the two-point conversion and the Falcons narrowed the Tiger lead to 19-16.
Scotland County had the answer with a seven play drive capped off by a 1st and 10 13-yard touchdown pass to Spurgeon with 4:33 left in the third period. The two-point rushing attempt by Alex Long was no good and the Tigers led 25-16.
The Tigers appeared to have the Falcons stopped on their next drive, with Fayette facing a 4th and 20 from the Tiger 35-yard line. But Wells threw a strike to Vroman on the wheel route for the touchdown and the Falcons were within three points, trailing 25-22 as the third quarter expired.
Not to be outdone, Tiger quarterback Hayden Long tucked the ball himself on an option play and rolled to the right side for a 59-yard touchdown scramble with 11:06 left to play. Spurgeon’s extra point kick was wide right and the Tigers led 31-22.
On the kickoff, Fayette’s Avery Powell fumbled the return which was recovered for the Tigers by Lucas Durflinger. But on the very next play, Scotland County’s Jadin Fuller fumbled the ball right back to the Falcons. The next play was a 56-yard touchdown pass from Wells to Dalton Collins with 10:44 remaining in the game. The two-point try was no good and the Tiger lead was once again reduced to three points, leading 31-28.
After forcing the Tigers to punt on the next drive, Fayette took possession with 6:41 left to play. The Tigers got Fayette into 3rd and 18 at their own 15-yard line when Wells busted off an 84-yard run that featured numerous arm tackles and missed tackles by the Tiger defenders. But Fayette shot themselves in the foot with a flag and a sack that had them facing 2nd and goal from the Tiger 22-yard line. After a defensive timeout by the Tigers, Wells took the quarterback keeper up the belly for the touchdown with 3:53 left to play. The two-point try was no good and the Falcons now led 34-31.
The Tigers’ final drive started out promising enough, but fizzled out with an incompletion, a sack and a botched snap to turn it over on downs. The Tigers were out of timeouts and with 1:24 left in the game the Falcons went to the victory formation for the win.
Scotland County had 412 yards of offense, with 104 passing and 308 rushing yards. Fayette had 381 yards of offense, with 97 through the air and 284 on the ground. The Tigers had 22 first downs compared to 13 for the Falcons. The Tigers played a clean game with only one penalty.
Hayden Long was 9/17 passing for 88 yards with three passing touchdowns. He was also the leading rusher with 128 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Spurgeon had four catches for 37 yards and three touchdowns. Alex Long had three catches for 32 yards, Triplett had two catches for 29 yards and Fuller had a catch for six yards.
Buckallew rushed 11 times for 84 yards, Alex Long carried 14 times for 54 yards, and Riley Small had two carries for 17 yards.
Asked for positives to take away from the game, Carper said “I feel like the last two games we’ve run the ball really well.” He added, “They were getting a good jam on our receivers and we didn’t like it. I feel like we weren’t as physical. They were definitely more physical than us tonight. We can’t do that.” The Tigers will host Paris (0-2) at Tiger Field for week three action.