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MEMPHIS — Turnovers and defense were key to McKenzie’s 28-6 upset win over Memphis Mitchell Friday night.The Rebels won the toss and elected to defer to the second half so Mitchell got …
MEMPHIS — Turnovers and defense were key to McKenzie’s 28-6 upset win over Memphis Mitchell Friday night.
The Rebels won the toss and elected to defer to the second half so Mitchell got the ball first to start the game. Both teams had difficulty moving the ball in their first possessions. Mitchell fumbled the ball to the Rebels on their second possession midway through the first quarter. McKenzie was not able to capitalize on it and punted. Mitchell had possession at the end of a scoreless first quarter.
An offensive pass interference call against Mitchell combined with a big sack by Kyle Maxwell put the Tigers in a long fourth down situation forcing the punt. Both teams continued to swap possessions until Mitchell’s Tigers got a drive going, aided by Rebel penalties, and scored on a 14-yard run by Joseph Adams late in the second quarter. The extra point was no good leaving the Rebels trailing 6-0. Both teams swapped possessions again before the first half came to a close.
The Rebels got the ball first to open the third quarter and got a drive going that resulted in their first score of the game while using up nearly half the third quarter clock. Micah Austin scored on a 2-yard run with the extra point good by Zach Aird with 6:11 left in the third quarter. Aird’s kick gave McKenzie a 7-6 lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, Mitchell fumbled the ball with Gage Moon recovering for the Rebels at the Tiger 41 yard line. Five plays later, the Rebels were in the endzone again on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Evan Jarrett to Marquez Taylor with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Zack Aird’s extra point attempt was no good but the Rebels extended their lead to 13-6.
Mitchell took their next possession deep into Rebel territory threatening to score late in the third quarter until Micah Austin sacked their quarterback for a big loss to start the final quarter. The Tigers went for it on a fourth down and long play which failed when Eli Surber broke up the pass play.
McKenzie took over on downs and marched into Mitchell territory and went to the air again for a 26-yard Jarrett to Taylor touchdown pass. The Rebels went for two and scored on a Jarrett to Logan Lyles conversion pass to open the score to 21-6. The Rebels got the ball back right after the ensuing kickoff when Mitchell fumbled the ball for the third time with Micah Austin recovering the ball in Tiger territory. Austin scored three plays later on a 10-yard run with Aird’s extra point good for a 28-6 lead with 1:43 left to play in the game. McKenzie’s Kaden Allen picked off a pass with under a minute to play to seal McKenzie’s playoff win.
McKenzie rolled up a balanced 280 yards in offense with 140 coming on the ground and 140 coming through the air. Evan Jarrett was 11-19 for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Marquez Taylor led the receiving with 67 yards and two touchdowns. Micah Austin led the rushing attack with 80 yards on 17 carries scoring two touchdowns. McKenzie’s defense held an explosive Mitchell offense to 92 yards rushing and 51 yards passing for the night. The Rebels will travel to Trenton this Friday night for a rematch with the Golden Tide. Gametime is 7 p.m.