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Top Sports Stories of 2019

Posted 1/7/20

JanuaryPatrick Willis Elected to College Football Hall of FameSANTA CLARA, Calif. (January 7) — Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central High School football standout Patrick Willis has been elected to the …

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Top Sports Stories of 2019

Posted

January

Patrick Willis Elected to College Football Hall of Fame

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (January 7) — Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central High School football standout Patrick Willis has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. The announcement was made Monday in the lead-up to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

He and 14 others will be officially inducted on December 10 at the annual National Football Foundation awards dinner in New York City. The College Football Hall of Fame is located in Atlanta.

Willis was an All-State linebacker and a Mr. Football recipient for the Central Tigers before playing at the University of Mississippi.

As an Ole Miss Rebel from 2003 to 2006, he was a two-time Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was named the South Team Defensive MVP at the 2007 Senior Bowl. In 2006, Willis won the Butkus Award and the Lambert Award, both given to the top linebacker in college football. He was a first-team All-American in 2005 and 2006.

Willis ranks sixth all-time at Ole Miss with 355 career tackles. He was the recipient of the 2006 Conerly Trophy as the best college football player in the state of Mississippi and the Ole Miss Chucky Mullins Courage Award.

Michael Jasper Named New Head Football Coach at Bethel University

McKENZIE (January 24) — Bethel Director of Athletics Dale Kelley announced last Thursday night Michael Jasper is the new head football coach at the school. He replaces Brent Dearmon, who resigned earlier this week to take a position on the Les Miles staff at the University of Kansas.

Jasper is the 12th head football coach in Wildcat history. He is one of the more beloved players who has ever played football for the Bethel University Wildcats. Michael Jasper just completed his third season as an assistant with the Cats. He also served as the Assistant Head Coach and worked with the defensive line.

Before joining the Bethel staff, Jasper served as Offensive and Defensive Line Assistant at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, New York. Mike spent three years in the National Football League with the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers. Coach Jasper played for the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2005 and was a starter on their 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Championship team. After red-shirting at Middle Tennessee State University, Coach Jasper joined the Wildcats as an offensive and defensive lineman from 2008-2010 and was the first-ever Wildcat drafted to the NFL in 2011 by the Buffalo Bills. He graduated from Bethel University with a Bachelor’s Degree in University Studies.

February

District 11A Boys Basketball Championship-Rebels Claim Fifth Straight Title with Fourth-Quarter Comeback, War Eagles Coast to Third

McKENZIE (February 15) — The District 11A Boys Basketball Tournament wrapped up Friday at Bethel University’s Crisp Arena with consolation and championship contests.

The McKenzie Rebels mounted a huge rally in the final frame to claim their fifth consecutive district title with a 52-43 victory over the runner-up Huntingdon Mustangs.

The West Carroll War Eagles earned a third place finish with 71-49 win over the Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central Tigers.

District 11A Girls Basketball Championship-Fillies Claim Title; Lady War Eagles Rally for Third

McKENZIE (February 14) — The District 11A Girls Basketball Tournament wrapped up Thursday at Bethel University’s Crisp Arena with exciting consolation and championship contests.

The Huntingdon Fillies claimed the title with a 51-33 victory over the runner-up McKenzie Lady Rebels.

The West Carroll Lady War Eagles earned a third place finish with a come-from-behind win over the Clarksburg Lady Rockets, 53-48.

March

Region 6A Boys Championship-McKenzie’s Comeback Kids Strike Again to Claim Title

McKENZIE (February 28) — Two weeks ago, the McKenzie Rebels trailed the Huntingdon Mustangs by seven points entering the fourth quarter of the District 11A Championship Game at Bethel University’s Crisp Arena, and the Rebels mounted a 20-4 comeback to claim the title.

Fast forward to last Thursday, when the Rebels again trailed the Mustangs entering the fourth quarter of a title game. The venue was the same, but this time, it was the Mustangs of Loretto who had an eight-point advantage over the Rebels, and it was the Region 6A Championship game. With hosting rights to a Monday win-or-go-home Sectional game on the line, McKenzie’s boys once again delivered when the pressure was the greatest.

Trailing 44-36, the Rebels started the quarter on a 7-0 run to pull within a point. Soon after, they would take a 47-46 lead. Loretto scored to regain the lead, then Rebel Nate Whitsell hit a three to go up by two. McKenzie got a stop and scored again to go up four, but Mustang Jacob James hit a three to get back within a point with two minutes to play. Defense prevailed until only ten seconds remained, and James drove to the basket. Rebel Ben Austin stopped him from scoring, but was called for his fourth foul. James went to the line with four seconds to play to shoot a one-and-one. The first bounced off the rim, and Austin came down with the rebound, also drawing a foul. Austin converted on his one-and-one to give the Rebels a 54-51 lead. A last-second desperation three by Loretto missed wide, and the Rebel bench and student section rushed the court in jubilation.

STATEBOUND! McKenzie Rebels Earn State Tournament Berth with Sectional Win

McKENZIE (March 5) — The McKenzie High School Rebels will travel to Murfreesboro next week as one of the “Elite Eight” teams in the 2019 TSSAA Class A State Boys’ Basketball Tournament at the Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.

The Rebels punched their tickets Monday with a 69-57 Sectional win over a tough East Robertson team before a raucous crowd at Bethel University’s Crisp Arena.

The win gives the Rebels a season record of 28-3 entering the state tournament.

It is just the second trip the Rebels have made to the state tournament in the history of the program, the first coming 21 years ago.

BlueCross Basketball Championships-Rebels Make History with First State Tournament Win

MURFREESBORO (March 14) — The McKenzie High School Rebels earned the first state tournament win in program history Thursday with a 68-49 victory over the University School-Johnson City Buccaneers in the quarterfinal round of the TSSAA Class A Boys’ Basketball Championships.

The Rebels led from the opening tip, jumping out to a double-digit lead in the first three minutes. The Buccaneers would make several brief runs to cut into the deficit, including an impressive burst in the third quarter to cut the gap to six, but overall, the Rebels outscored USJC in each period.

BlueCross Basketball Championships-Rebels End Historic Season with Semifinal Loss

MURFREESBORO (March 15) — The McKenzie Rebels saw a historic season come to an end Friday as they fell 66-55 to the Humboldt Vikings in the semifinals of the TSSAA Class A State Boys Basketball Tournament at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center.

The Rebels never had a lead in the contest. The Vikings led by a dozen at the half, but McKenzie came out strong from the break with a 16-6 run to pull within two points. Humboldt stifled the rally and built the lead back to double digits with two minutes left to play. The Vikings hit their free throws late to hold off the Rebels and claim the win.

The loss ends the high school basketball careers of seniors Ben Austin, Tyler Spivey, Brandon Hobson and manager Stephone Haynes.

BlueCross Basketball Championships-Austin, King Named to All-State Tournament Team

MURFREESBORO — Following the TSSAA Class A Boys Basketball Championship Game, players from participating teams were named to the All-State Tournament Team. Two McKenzie High School players, senior Ben Austin and junior Lucas King, were among those honored.

In McKenzie’s two state tournament games, Austin scored a total of 37 points and had 28 rebounds, eleven blocks and two assists. King totaled 31 points, six rebounds, ten assists, a block and a steal.

Wildcats Win First NAIA Tournament Victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Bethel Wildcats and the John Brown Golden Eagles tipped off the 82nd NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship last Wednesday morning at the historic Municipal Arena in downtown Kansas City. The No. 5 seeded Wildcats used a late surge in the first half to run out to a 34-24 lead at halftime. That lead held up as the Wildcats pulled off the slight upset knocking off the No. 4 seeded Golden Eagles 77-57.

The Liston Bracket victory was the first ever for the Wildcats in the championship. They had lost to Pikeville in 2015.  It was only the second meeting ever between the two programs which is now tied at one each. JBU beat Bethel 73-71 in McKenzie in 1977. The 18th ranked Wildcats moved to 25-8 while John Brown finished their season at 23-11.

April

High School Baseball-Ensley Hits for Cycle as Mustangs Trample Cardinals, 9-1

HUNTINGDON (April 5) — The Huntingdon High School Mustangs hosted Adamsville Friday for a non-district baseball contest. A 9-1 Mustang win featured a rare accomplishment as Hunter Ensley hit for the cycle (a single, a double, a triple and a home run).

Patrick Willis To Be Inducted in Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame announced its nine-member 2019 class last Thursday, April 11, and it includes Bruceton native and former San Francisco 49er linebacker Patrick Willis. Willis was an outstanding offensive and defensive player for the Bruceton-Hollow Rock Central Tigers where he became the first player in Tennessee history to be nominated for both the Mr. Football Award for best lineman and Mr. Football Award for best back in the same season. He earned a scholarship to Ole Miss where he was coached by fellow inductee David Cutcliffe. He became an All-SEC performer and two-time SEC Conference Defensive Player of the Year along with being named South Team Defensive MVP at the 2007 Senior Bowl. In 2006, Willis won the Butkus Award and Lambert Award, both given to the top linebacker in college football. He was a first-team All-American in 2005 and 2006.

Willis was drafted in the first round by the 49ers where he played for eight seasons before retiring. He was the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, leading the league in tackles as a rookie.

Bethel University Wins First Major League Fishing College Championship

DAYTON, Tenn. — Eight boats/16 anglers from Bethel University competed in a head to head match up against the same amount of boats from in-state rival Bryan College from Dayton, Tennessee recently.

The format of the Major League Fishing saw the top five boats from each school getting points based upon the combined weight of each boat’s total catch of fish weighing over one pound.

The Bethel team had a staggering 294 pounds of largemouth bass with a total of one hundred fifty six fish caught for the combined top five Bethel boats.

Middle School Soccer-Rebels End Stellar Season as West Tennessee Runner-Up

McKENZIE (April 26) — The McKenzie Middle School soccer team saw a phenomenal season come to a bittersweet end Friday in a 1-0 loss to the St. Mary’s Angels in the championship game of the West Tennessee Regional Soccer Conference at Bethel University’s Wildcat Stadium.

The Rebels were previously unbeaten on the season with a 10-0 record including two tournament wins to reach the title match. Overall, they outscored their opponents 48-5 on the year.

Following the championship, players were named to the All-Conference Team. McKenzie was represented by defender Rashad McCreary.

May

District 11A Baseball Championship-Mustangs Clinch Title with 8-4 Win over Rebels

ATWOOD (May 8) — The Huntingdon Mustangs claimed the District 11A Championship Wednesday with an 8-4 victory over the McKenzie Rebels. It was the Mustangs’ second win in three games against the Rebels during the tournament.

McKenzie struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Huntingdon cut the lead in half with a run in the home half, took the lead with three in the third and pulled away with two runs each in the fourth and fifth. The Rebels rallied for a pair in the top of the seventh.

District 11A Softball Championship-Fillies Claim Title with Win over West Carroll

ATWOOD (May 7) — The Huntingdon Fillies clinched the District 11A Softball Championship Tuesday with a 9-4 win over the West Carroll Lady War Eagles.

With the win, the Fillies would host Loretto Monday for a Region 6A semifinal. As the runner-up, the Lady War Eagles would travel to Summertown.

West Carroll struck first with a pair in the top of the first, and Huntingdon answered with one in the home half, then took a big lead with six in the second. After three scoreless frames, the Lady War Eagles rallied for a pair in the top of the sixth, but the Fillies matched that in the bottom half.

High School Soccer-Rebels Earn District 13A Championship, Advance to Region Championship

DYER (May 6-8) — The McKenzie High School Rebels are the District 13A Soccer champions following a two-game sweep of the district tournament, held at Gibson County High School. They will host the Region 7A Championship game Thursday at Bethel University’s Wildcat Stadium at 6 p.m.

Monday, the Rebels played Westview in a semifinal contest and won 1-0. Diego Calderon scored the lone goal with an assist from Zack Flippin. Goalkeeper Will Essary recorded seven saves.

In Wednesday’s title game, McKenzie faced Gibson County and earned a 3-1 victory. Diego Calderon scored a pair of goals, and Francisco Padilla scored the other. Goalkeeper Will Essary again had seven saves.

June

Bethel’s Jeff Britt Assisting with 2019 USA Men’s U19 National Team Training Camp

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 4) ― Six successful coaches will help the USA basketball Men’s U19 National Team coaching staff at training camp, including Rodney Billups (University of Denver), Jeff Britt (Bethel University, Tenn.), Jeff Culver (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs), Aaron Gray (former NBA athlete) and Chris Holtmann (Ohio State University) and Hank Plona (Indian Hills Community College).

The 2019 USA Basketball Men’s U19 National Team training camp, which will be used to select the roster for the 2019 USA Men’s U19 National Team, is June 15-23 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Bethel’s Rusty Thompson Awarded Coach of Character Award

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Bethel University Baseball Coach Rusty Thompson was recently awarded the SSAC/NAIA Coach of the Year Character Award. Thompson just completed his 12th season as head coach of the Wildcats. The Wildcats had 13 student-athletes named to the SSAC All-Academic team, which was the most by any baseball team in the conference. The Wildcats finished 30-20 overall and 15-11 in the league. Thompson won his 300th career game when the Cats beat Loyola in early March.

July

Head Coach Dexter Williams Leads Team to National Tournament

Besides serving as West Carroll Director of Schools, Dexter Williams is the head coach of the Jackson TN Underdawgs basketball team. The amateur team has reached the Elite 8 in The Basketball Tournament, a nationally-televised tournament with a winner-take-all $2 million prize.

Teams around the country receive votes to qualify for the 64-team field, and the Jackson team was voted in as the eighth and lowest seed in the Memphis Region.

They’ve had a Cinderella run to come out on top in the region, and now advance to face the other seven region champions in Chicago beginning Thursday, August 1.

The Underdawgs will face the Golden Eagles (Marquette Alumni) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the champion of the Wichita Region, on Thursday at 8 p.m. CDT. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Bethel, FHU and Martin Methodist Renew Rivalries with Mid-South Conference Move

JACKSON (July 25) — During a joint press conference at the Jackson Chamber Boardroom in Jackson, Tennessee, the presidents of Bethel University, Freed-Hardeman University and Martin Methodist College announced their schools’ transfers to the Mid-South Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Teams will first compete in their new conference in the 2020-21 academic year.

August

High School Football-War Eagles Edge Tigers in Season Opener, 34-28

BRUCETON (August 23) — High school football kicked off Friday in Carroll County with a pair of long-standing rivalries. Huntingdon at McKenzie may have been the hot ticket, but West Carroll at Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central was a thrilling back-and-forth that came down to the final seconds.

The Tigers struck first in the early minutes, and the War Eagles responded late in the first frame. The teams swapped touchdowns early in the second, then West Carroll took the lead just before the half. The War Eagles kept the momentum with a third-quarter touchdown, but Central kept the game in reach going into the fourth. West Carroll and then Central each saw long drives end with interceptions, and the War Eagles capitalized on the latter to go up two scores with under two minutes to play. The Tigers worked the sidelines on a quick drive to score, but West Carroll got the ball back and ran out the clock on a 34-28 win.

Record Number of Athletes for Bethel University in 2019-20

McKENZIE — The 2019-20 school year for Bethel University will mark a milestone in Bethel Athletics. Over 800 student-athletes will compete this fall and next spring wearing the Wildcat uniform. It will mark a record number of students participating in 28 sports.

McKenzie Table Tennis Club Hosts Tournament During Festival

McKENZIE (August 24) — The Bethel University Non-Sanctioned World Table Tennis Championships were held in Crisp Arena Saturday during the City of McKenzie’s Southern Fried and Sweet Tea Festival.

Thirty of the nation’s top-level table tennis athletes competed for an unprecedented $3,000 in the first-ever world championship of its kind. Non-sanctioned table tennis contests generally offer no prize money, and even sanctioned table tennis competitions in the U.S. rarely pay over a couple of hundred dollars for national events.

Thanks to a total of 15 sponsors from the McKenzie and Carroll County area, athletes from as far as China came to compete for top cash prizes in this event hosted by the McKenzie Table Tennis Club.

September

High School Football-War Eagles Storm Back Late to Edge Lions on Final Play, 20-19

ATWOOD (September 13) — The West Carroll War Eagles moved to 2-0 in Region 7-1A Friday with a gritty, come-from-behind home win, 20-19, against Dresden that came down to the final play of the game. Down two scores entering the final frame, the War Eagles steeled themselves under the pressure. Two vital scoring drives on the rushing of seniors Jeremiah Bryant and Jarrius Weatherford bookended a big defensive stop to make the comeback possible.

After a scoreless opening frame, Dresden struck first to lead 7-0 at the half. West Carroll took an 8-7 lead early in the third, but the Lions answered with two scores before the quarter ended. The War Eagles needed the entire final frame, with smart use of the clock and timeouts, to score twice and come away with the thrilling win.

October

Huntingdon Wins in Nail Biter Over Rival Milan

HUNTINGDON (September 27) — The Huntingdon Mustangs improved their record Friday night eking out a win over longtime rival Milan Bulldogs, 40-39. In what was touted as Huntingdon’s first real test of the season both crowds were held in suspense until the final few seconds of play.

Although plagued with turnovers, the Mustangs were able to hold strong thanks to an impressive accumulation of running plays from Brandon Lawton; with 17 carries for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Lawton’s longest touchdown was 74 yards.

Hunter Ensley carried the ball 12 times for 70 yards and one touchdown. In passing, he was four for eight with 120 yards and a 51-yard touchdown snagged by Austin Baker. Cole Edwards was four of six on extra-points, but booming punts and kickoffs helped with Huntingdon’s field position.

The Huntingdon defense had key stops with 10 sacks on the night by a host of Mustangs: Konnor Pearson (1); Bo Mclemore (4); Devin Mcclerkin (2); and Sebastian Kee (3). McLemore had five tackles for a loss and Ensley picked off a Bulldog pass towards the end of the game.

Middle School Football-Rebels Cap Season with Rout of Lions on Eighth Grade Night

McKENZIE (September 26) — The McKenzie Middle School Rebels wrapped up a great football season (5-2) Thursday with a dominant win over the Camden Junior High Lions, 40-0.

It was Eighth Grade Night at Randy Thomas Field, and the departing cheerleaders and football players were recognized on the field before the game.

Eighth grade cheerleaders include: Co-Captains Belle O’Brien and Ava Warman, Abbie Young, Ava Jones, Brett Toombs, Kamryn Brewer, Skyelor DeLoach and Macey Mayo.

Eighth grade football players include: Brady Brewer, Jake Cassidy, Hayden Garrett, Ian Ownby, Stafford Roditis, Drew Chappell, Brent Odom, Dalton Hatley, Dawson Brush, Lane Anderson, Braxton Sulock, Chaz Flippin, Ace Fisher, Christopher Beck, Cameron Flippin, Luiz Tellez, Andrew Marr, Aidan Sisemore and Chris Hollowell.

Rebels Upset Gibson County

McKenzie’s Rebels evened their record and put themselves in the playoff hunt Friday night with a 21-13 upset over Gibson County in region play.

The Rebels had 267 yards offense with 153 coming on the ground and 114 in the air. Micah Austin had 133 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns to lead the team. Evan Jarrett completed 9 of 14 passes for 114 yards.

The win put McKenzie in second place in the region.

High School Golf-Region Champ Lady Rebels Headed to State, Rebel Green Earns Individual Bid

MILAN (September 30) — The Region 7 Championships were Monday at the Milan Golf Course. There were 61 participants, with following school represented: McKenzie, Milan, Gibson County, South Fulton, Huntingdon, Union City, Clarksburg, Gleason, Dresden, West Carroll, Westview, Halls and Camden.

The Lady Rebel golf team again made school history as the ladies will return to the state tournament for the third consecutive year after winning the Region 7 Tournament. Maggie Glass led the team with a 73 (one over par), followed by Juleyanne Weatherford with an 80 (her best round ever) and Whitley Smith with a 106 for a five-stroke win over Milan. Maggie Glass claimed first place as individual medalist. Juleyanne Weatherford claimed third place as individual medalist after a playoff hole, which she won to claim the medal.

The gentlemen’s team finished as the Region 7 Runner-Up. They were led by Logan Green, who shot an 82, followed by Johnathan Moore with an 84, Nathan Nanney’s 90, and Nolan Renfro’s 96 to complete the team’s score of 352. The gentlemen were eleven strokes behind champion Gibson County. Logan Green claimed fourth place as individual medalist and also advanced to the state tournament.

High School Golf-West Carroll Golfer Robinson Headed to State

West Carroll High School golfer Jed Robinson will compete as an individual at the state tournament October 7-9 at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester. He shot an 81 at the Region 7 Tournament in Milan last week to earn a third place medal and an individual state bid.

McKenzie Golfers Fare Well at State Tournament

MANCHESTER (October 8-9) — Willowbrook Golf Course was the host of the TSSAA State High School Golf Championship last week. The club is family-owned and -operated and was voted best course in the area by Tennessee Magazine. Willowbrook has been the tournament host for eight consecutive years. McKenzie was represented by the Lady Rebels golf team of Maggie Glass, Juleyanne Weatherford and Whitley Smith and by Rebel Logan Green as an individual qualifier.

Tuesday was a chilly 60 degrees, cloudy and windy. The Lady Rebels were led by Maggie Glass with a 75 (three over par), Juleyanne Weatherford with a 92 and Whitely Smith with a 101. Wednesday, the weather had improved to sunny and clear. The ladies team was led by Maggie Glass with an 86 to complete her two-day score of 156. Juleyanne Weatherford shot a 95 to complete her two-day score of 187, and Whitley Smith had a 102 to complete her two-day score of 203. It was a very close match. The ladies ended up in fourth place, only three strokes away from second place Adamsville and only one stroke away from third place Sale Creek. Maggie Glass claimed fourth place individual medalist with her score of 156, which included nine pars and three birdies on Day 1 and nine pars on Day 2.

For the gentlemen, there were 64 participants as individual qualifiers. Logan Green shot 82 on Day 1 with eight pars. On Day 2, he shot 87 with five pars and one birdie. His two-day score total was 169. He finished in 29th place. The first place medalist was Evan Woosley Reed, who shot an impressive six under par. Second place was Aiden Collier with an even par, and third place was Braedon Wear, shooting only one over.

District 13A Girls Soccer Championship-Lady Rebels Claim Crown with 2-0 Win over Westview

MARTIN (October 10) — The McKenzie High School Lady Rebel soccer team claimed the District 13A Championship Thursday with a thrilling, 2-0 victory over the host Westview Lady Chargers.

The win avenges a 4-3 regular-season loss to the Lady Chargers just two weeks prior.

Lady Rebels Allie Chappell and Savannah Nesbitt each scored a goal, and goalkeeper Gracie Dillingham recorded seven saves for the shutout.

Following the game, district awards were presented. Lady Rebels Maggie Aird, Allie Chappell, Gracie Dillingham and Kassidy Brown were among those named to the All-District 13A team, and Aird, Chappell, Dillingham and Savannah Nesbitt were named to the All-Tournament team. Hannah Dillingham was named District 13A Defensive Player of the Year, and Head Coach Karlene Brown was named District 13A Coach of the Year.

HHS Mustangs Finish Regular Season Undefeated on Homecoming, Senior Night

HUNTINGDON (October 24) — Playing Thursday night to avoid Friday’s downpour, the Huntingdon Mustangs finished a third consecutive undefeated regular season with a 72-6 rout of the Middleton Tigers. To add to the celebratory mood, it was Homecoming and Senior Night at Paul Ward Stadium.

Prior to kickoff, senior football players and managers, cheerleaders, band members, AB Club members and cross-country runners were recognized on the field.

During halftime, the Homecoming court was presented and the queen announced. The court included two representatives from each class.

Queen Brooke Butler was crowned by AB Club President Caroline Moore and Vice-President Abby Stokes. The Alma Mater was then played by the band and sung by all. The game breezed by as the Mustangs put up 37 points in the first quarter, prompting a running clock in the second quarter and in a shortened second half (two eight-minute quarters).

STATEBOUND! Lady Rebels Earn Third-Straight State Tournament Appearance

MEMPHIS (October 27) — The McKenzie High School Lady Rebel soccer team will compete in the TSSAA Class A State Girls’ Soccer Tournament for the third consecutive year following a 3-1 Sectional win over Crosstown Sunday.

Lady Rebel Savannah Nesbitt scored a pair of goals in the Sectional, and Allie Chappell scored one. Goalkeeper Gracie Dillingham had five saves in the win.

The team was forced to travel for the game after a tough, 1-0 overtime loss to Westview in the Region 7 Championship game Thursday in McKenzie. Dillingham also had five saves in that contest.

November

High School Football-War Eagles Edge Yellowjackets 8-0 in Defensive Bout, Will Host Playoff Opener

GREENFIELD (November 1) — The West Carroll War Eagles faced the Greenfield Yellowjackets on the road Friday with second place in Region 7-1A and hosting rights in the first round of the playoffs on the line. West Carroll took advantage of a Greenfield miscue to score the only touchdown of the game late in the first half. Both teams continued to play excellent defense in the second half, with the War Eagles holding on for an 8-0 win.

High School Football-Rebels Upset Memphis Mitchell in Playoffs

MEMPHIS — Turnovers and defense were key to McKenzie’s 28-6 upset win over Memphis Mitchell Friday night.

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.

West Carroll, Huntingdon Cross Country Runners Compete at State

NASHVILLE (November 2) — Cross Country runners from West Carroll and Huntingdon competed Saturday in the TSSAA Division I Small School State Cross Country Championship at Percy Warner Park Steeplechase Course.

West Carroll’s Natalie Moore fared the best of the local runners, finishing 21st with a time of 22:34.62. Also for West Carroll, Makenya Gaskin finished 49th (24:15.91), Noelle Roberts finished 68th (24:51.68), Sydney Bosley finished 81st (25:26.57), Destini Roberson finished 155th (29:44.03), Caitlyn Brooks finished 166th (34:37.04) and Abby Sacks finished 167th (34:44.66).

Kaitlyn Wyatt was Huntingdon’s top finisher in 87th with a time of 25:43.11. Also for Huntingdon, Adyn Swenson finished 91st (25:48.21), Brett Hampton finished 94th (25:49.28), Addison Postlethwait finished 95th (25:53.22), Brooke Butler finished 98th (26:01.30), Kaylan Belew finished 111th (26:45.25) and Lia Fuller finished 122nd (27:07.20).

As a team, West Carroll finished ninth with an average time of 25:22.57. The Huntingdon team finished 15th with an average time of 25:51.03.

TSSAA Class A State Girls’ Soccer Tournament-Lady Rebels End Season in Opening Round with 1-0 Loss

MURFREESBORO (November 6) — For the third consecutive year, the McKenzie High School Lady Rebel soccer team saw their season end in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A State Girls’ Soccer Tournament. McKenzie faced Adamsville Wednesday at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex and fell, 1-0.

The Lady Rebels and Lady Cardinals battled hard for 80 minutes with the only goal coming in the 65th minute. McKenzie goalkeeper Gracie Dillingham showed her skills with 14 saves in the loss.

The Lady Rebels managed just one shot on goal, coming off the foot of Allie Chappell late in the first period. McKenzie ends the season with a record of 11-4-1.

TSSAA Class 1A Football Playoffs-War Eagles Advance with 62-36 Win over Memphis East

ATWOOD (November 8) — The West Carroll War Eagles advanced to the second round of the TSSAA Class 1A State Football Playoffs with a 62-36 home win over Memphis East Friday night. The War Eagles will travel Friday to face Memphis Middle College, who eliminated Dresden 42-13.

The War Eagles never trailed in the contest, but the Mustangs kept it close in the first half. West Carroll led by just two before scoring on the final play of the first half to start a run of 30 unanswered points. Memphis East tacked on a couple of scores in the fourth quarter but at no point posed a real comeback threat.

Huntingdon Avenged in Playoff Route of Cornersville

HUNTINGDON (November 15) — For two consecutive years, the Cornersville Bulldogs ended the Huntingdon Mustangs drive for the state championship. Last Friday night, Huntingdon avenged their honor and pride with a 54-7 rout of Cornersville.

In this third match-up, the Mustangs dominated on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs picked up on five first downs the entire game, the first coming late in the second quarter. Huntingdon had eight sacks on the night: Devin McClerkin (3), Jaylen Williams (3), Konnor Pearson (1) and Cade Wood (1). The Mustangs picked up three interceptions on the night: Hunter Ensley, and Malek Cannon and Brandon Lawton.

Offensively, Huntingdon only had 344 yards on the night, but the majority of their possessions were in Bulldog territory. Ensley was four of five in passing for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Noah Belew was on the receiving end of both touchdowns.

On the ground, the Mustangs carried the ball 32 times for 284 yards. Leading the team in rushing was Brandon Lawton with nine carries for 133 yards and three touchdowns.

TSSAA Class 1A State Football Playoffs-War Eagles Win at Middle College, Advance to Quarterfinals

MEMPHIS (November 15) — The West Carroll War Eagles advanced to the TSSAA Class 1A State Football Quarterfinals with a 28-14 win Friday over the Middle College Bulldogs at Fairgrounds Stadium. The War Eagles shut out the Bulldogs in the first half and managed the clock well in the second half to cruise to the victory.

They will travel to Tiptonville Friday for a rematch against the undefeated Lake County Falcons. In the October regular-season contest, West Carroll held their own for much of the first half before succumbing 60-14 to the high-powered Falcon offense.

High School Football-Rebels’ Season Ends At Trenton

TRENTON — McKenzie’s 2019 season came to a close at the hands of Trenton’s Golden Tide last Friday night in the second round of the playoffs. The Tide scored points several different ways enroute to a 48-0 win over the Rebels. Trenton is the Class AA defending state champion.

The Rebels end their season with a 6-6 record and first playoff appearance since 2016.

National Signing Day-Huntingdon’s Ensley Signs with Tennessee, Fuller with UT Martin

HUNTINGDON (November 13) — Wednesday was National Signing Day, the first day that student-athletes may sign letters of intent with colleges and universities. Two Huntingdon High School standouts put ink to paper in front of their classmates, coaches and families in the gymnasium.

Hunter Ensley, a baseball and football phenom, has chosen to join the University of Tennessee baseball program, and Kaci Fuller, key to the Fillies’ softball and basketball teams, will play softball at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Lady Wildcats Pull off Upset of No. 1 Freed-Hardeman

McKENZIE — The No. 16 Bethel Lady Wildcats played host to the No. 1 Freed-Hardeman Lady Lions Thursday night in Crisp Arena and the 72nd meeting between the two programs will always be a memorable one for all Wildcats fans.

Trailing 34-19 early in the third quarter the Lady Cats hung tough and stayed within striking distance. Bethel still trailed by double digits at 48-37 at the end of the quarter but the stage was set for one of the best comebacks in Lady Wildcat history. A remarkable fourth quarter saw the Cats outscore FHU 15-2 and win 52-50.

TSSAA Class 1A State Football Quarterfinals-Mustangs Earn Semifinal Bid with Rout of Huntland

HUNTLAND (November 21) — The Huntingdon Mustangs traveled Thursday for a TSSAA Class 1A State Football Quarterfinal against the Huntland Hornets. The host team struck first with a field goal, and the Huntingdon offense got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, but they scored late in the first and early in the second for a 13-3 halftime lead. The Mustangs returned to form in the second half, dominating both sides of the ball to claim a 42-10 win.

Huntingdon will host Lake County in a semifinal battle of undefeateds on Black Friday, November 29 at 7 p.m. for a chance to go to the Class 1A title game in Cookeville on December 6.

TSSAA Class 1A State Football Quarterfinals-War Eagles End Season with Loss to Falcons

TIPTONVILLE (November 22) — The West Carroll War Eagles ended their season Friday with a 46-0 loss to the undefeated Lake County Falcons in the TSSAA Class 1A State Football Quarterfinals. West Carroll finishes with an 8-5 record and the team’s first quarterfinal appearance since 2012. It was the Falcons that eliminated the War Eagles last year, only one round earlier.

The loss was the final high school football game for West Carroll seniors Wyatt Baker, Bryce Bolton, Jeremiah Bryant, Zach Perry and Jarrius Weatherford.

TSSAA Class 1A State Football Playoffs-Mustangs End Season with Semifinal Loss to Lake County

HUNTINGDON (November 29) — The Huntingdon Mustangs saw their season come to an end Friday with a 30-20 loss to Lake County in the TSSAA Class 1A State Football Semifinals. The Mustangs were seeking their first finals appearance since 2012.

The atmosphere was electric at Paul Ward Stadium as an estimated 4,000-plus fans packed the home and visitor stands, overflow bleachers, grass and against the fence.

The Falcons took the momentum early, but Huntingdon scored a much-needed touchdown just before the half to keep the game in reach at 24-12. After a scoreless third, Lake County sealed the contest with a touchdown early in the final frame. The Mustangs never gave up, battling for a late score, but the Falcons drained the clock for the victory.

December

Carroll County Middle School Girls Basketball Tournament-Lady Rebels Win Thriller Over Fillies to Claim Title

McKENZIE (December 5) — The Carroll County Middle School Girls Basketball Tournament wrapped up Thursday at McKenzie Middle School with the championship game between the host Lady Rebels and the Huntingdon Fillies. The contest was tight from start to finish, knotted at 21-21 after three quarters. The Fillies took the ball down the court in the final seconds down by one with a chance to win, McKenzie came away with a steal to clinch a 28-27 victory and claim the title.

Following the game, the All-County Team was recognized: McKenzie’s Sophie Pate, Nicole Gibson, Kyeana Sneed, MiKaela Reynolds and Savannah Davis; Huntingdon’s Josey Stokes, Ashlyn Rich, Lilly Kee and Kelby Crossno; and Clarksburg’s Maleigha Abdallah, Sam Seagraves and Chloe Crum.

Carroll County Middle School Boys Basketball Tournament-Rebels Claim Title with Late Burst Over Mustangs

McKENZIE (December 5) — The Carroll County Middle School Boys Basketball Tournament came to a close Thursday at McKenzie Middle School with the championship game between the host Rebels and the Huntingdon Mustangs. The teams swapped leads through the first three quarters, but McKenzie pulled away late for a 45-28 win to claim the title.

Following the game, the All-County Team was recognized: McKenzie’s Christopher Beck, Stafford Roditis and Tate Surber; Huntingdon’s Kaleb Pearson, Ashton Hutcherson, Jordan Willis and Tayshawn Rivers; West Carroll’s Will Murray, Will Robinson and Titus Taylor, Jr.; and Clarksburg’s Sha Williams and Stefan Gilbert.

West Carroll Dedicates ‘Coach Richard Welch Court’

ATWOOD (December 13) — Between West Carroll’s high school basketball games against Gibson County Friday night, a special ceremony was held to officially dedicate the junior-senior high’s new gymnasium floor as Coach Richard Welch Court.

Welch (1932-2006) was a 1950 graduate of Trezevant High School and coached basketball in the West Carroll community from 1956-1991. He spent his first ten years at Westview Elementary School in Cedar Grove coaching boys and girls basketball, accruing a record of 500-100.

He then led the Trezevant High School girls to nine district championships, nine region championships, nine state tournament appearances and two state championships (1974, 1976).

Rebel Witt Mitchum Signs with Kansas State Football

McKENZIE (December 18) — McKenzie High School senior football standout Witt Mitchum committed Wednesday to continue his career at Kansas State University. Coaches, teammates, teachers, friends and family gathered in the MHS Theatre for a signing ceremony.

Rebel Head Coach Wade Comer said, “We’re proud of Witt. It’s a big day for MHS. Witt is the second kid we’ve had sign with an FBS [NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision] school. Very few kids live this dream. Over a million play high school football, and only thousands play in the FBS.”

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