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It’s been apparent for the past couple of weeks, the Scotland County Tigers are starting to click. Following back to back losses in close games on the road, the Tigers left no doubt this week for the homecoming crowd.
The start to Friday night’s game was far from how the Tigers had pictured it. The Panthers received the opening kick, and would take the return 75 yards down the south sideline and into the endzone. Their two point conversion that followed was successful. Less than one minute into the game Salisbury led 8-0, and had silenced the homecoming crowd of the Tigers.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to respond. On their opening drive, they would look to establish their rushing attack. The Tigers chipped away at first downs on the ground and moved into Panther territory. A Beau Triplett run up the middle would cross the goal line and walk into the endzone to put the first points of the night on the board for the Tigers. In what looked like an instant replay of the previous play, Scotland County was successful on their two point attempt. Score: Scotland County 8, Salisbury 8.
With a tie ballgame, the Scotland County defense would get their chance to take the field. The defense would start the game with 4 consecutive stops, and a Salisbury turnover on downs. The Tiger offense would get the ball back on their own 47 yard line. With less than one minute remaining in the first quarter, Scotland County would throw their first pass of the night. Dane Blessing would connect with Vince Dale for a 28 yard completion that finished just shy of the goal line. Blessing would finish the drive and the first quarter with a quarterback sneak for a Tiger touchdown. Owen Brown tacked on an extra point and the Tigers finished the quarter with a lead of Scotland County 15, Salisbury 8.
The second quarter featured a lot of defense. With 4 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Salisbury would finish an offensive drive with another score of their own. Their 2 point conversion was successful, and they would take back a 16-15 lead over the Tigers.
The Tigers would get the ball back to start the second half. A 4 minute, 50 yard drive would get the Tigers to the Panther’s 4 yard line. Beau Triplett would finish another Scotland County drive with a run up the middle. Triplett’s touchdown was followed by another Owen Brown extra point, and the Tiger’s would take back the lead, Scotland County 22, Salisbury 16. Up front, the Scotland County offensive line was creating holes big enough for Triplett to remain on his feet for both of his touchdowns. Often overlooked, but obviously dominant, and a key factor in this contest.
With 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Salisbury would go for it on 4th down with 4 to go at the Tiger’s 23 yard line. Vince Dale would get around the corner for a sack and 7 yard loss that would give the Tiger’s the ball back. The Tiger’s rushing attack would slowly chip away on that next drive. Wearing the Panthers down with their run game that had success all night. The Tiger’s would finish the third quarter with the ball on the Panther’s 14 yard line.
To start the fourth quarter, a run to the outside by Elias Hatfield would finish with him diving to the corner of the endzone, and putting another 6 on the board for the Tigers.
With 8 minutes remaining in the game, the Scotland County defense would clamp down once again. Forcing another turnover on downs for the Panthers and giving them the ball back in great field position. The very next play for the Tigers offense would see Elias Hatfield break free for a 38 yard touchdown run, and a 34-16 lead.
Once again the Tiger defense would only allow the Panthers four more plays, leading them to another turnover on downs. With a little over a minute left in the game, the Tiger’s would finish another drive with a Beau Triplett run for a touchdown. For the first time, you could sense relief from the Tiger’s sideline. The crowd of blue were on their feet, and the Scotland County coaching staff had all worked their way to the field. After being so close the past couple of weeks, the Tiger’s had put this one away and left no doubt. In week 2 the Tiger’s had a final drive with a chance to tie at Highland. In week 3, they had a kick to win it at Fayette. This week, they were dominant throughout the second half, and had built a 25 point lead with a minute remaining. Coach Kirk Stott used a timeout to get his Junior Varsity players in for some experience on homecoming night. The Panthers added a score on the final drive to make the final score Scotland County 41, Salisbury 22. This week there would be no intense final drive for the Tigers. Instead, you could find most of the Varsity squad chanting “DEFENSE….(clap, clap)…. DEFENSE” from the Tiger’s sideline. The crowd were on their feet, and whatever the Panther’s were doing on that final drive didn’t seem to matter. As the clock ran down, the sideline was filled with smiles and high fives. With what voice he had left, you could hear Coach Stott saying, “You’re not tired! Look at that scoreboard!”
The monkey is off their back, and the Tiger’s are looking more impressive each week. Coach Stott picks up his first win as the Tiger’s head coach, and the win comes against the team he had started his coaching career with a decade ago. The homecoming crowd was loud and proud as the Tigers gathered for one last huddle.
– Scotland County ran the football 68 times for 341 yards and 6 touchdowns.
– Elias Hatfield carried the ball 26 times for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns.
– Beau Triplett ran 22 times for 101 yards and 3 touchdowns.
– Jadin Fuller rushed 16 times for 72 yards.
– Dane Blessing added 4 runs for 19 yards and a touchdown. Along with 2/4 passing for 37 yards. Blessing also led the team in tackles with 6. A quarterback that leads the team in tackles, welcome to small town football.
– Vince Dale recorded 2 sacks, and Jadin Fuller had an interception.
Scotland County moves to (1-3) on their season, and will travel to Russellville next Friday @7:00 PM.