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The McKenzie Rebels traveled to Jackson Friday for their first region contest against Trinity Christian Academy and played as well as they’ve played all season. They scored almost as many …
The McKenzie Rebels traveled to Jackson Friday for their first region contest against Trinity Christian Academy and played as well as they’ve played all season. They scored almost as many points in one game as they’ve scored all year and held TCA to just a pair of field goals in the first half. They held the lead for three quarters but in the end a few mistakes cost the Rebels that elusive first win.
The Rebels won the toss and elected to defer to the second half meaning TCA would get the ball to open the game. The Lions wasted no time driving downfield until McKenzie’s defense forced them into a 4th and long at the Rebel 12. TCA opted to attempt a field goal which was good by Joao Lopes for a 3-0 TCA lead.
McKenzie’s offense got off to a sluggish start with a penalty and a couple of short runs but on third down and long, Eli Surber connected with Tyler Spivey on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 6:45 left in the first quarter. The extra point was no good giving McKenzie a 6-3 lead.
TCA came right back with a balanced drive of runs and short passes and got back inside the Rebels 20 and again were stopped short having to settle for another 29-yard field goal attempt which was good by Lopes for a 6-6 tie with 2:09 left in the opening quarter.
After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, McKenzie took the ball downfield quickly on a 3-play drive resulting in a 19-yard touchdown run by senior Bryston Diggs. The extra point was good by Diego Calderon for a 13-6 Rebel lead with 1:15 still left in the opening quarter.
The two teams spent much of the second quarter swapping punts not able to gain much yardage on the other until late in the quarter when the Rebels got a long drive started at their own 20. 10 plays later Murphy Watkins ran it 18 tough yards making contact with defenders several times before getting it into the endzone. Calderon’s extra point was no good but McKenzie had a 19-6 lead with 2:07 left in the first half. The Rebels forced TCA into a three and out possession and got the ball back with enough time to take a knee and run the first half clock out.
The Rebels took the ball first second half and wasted no time driving into TCA territory and got stopped on a fourth and two play handing the ball over on downs. TCA struck quickly on a 64-yard run by Kevin Davis setting up their first touchdown on a 14-yard run by Addison Coleman. Their extra point was good cutting the Rebel lead to 19-13.
McKenzie answered the score with one of their own on a 7-play drive capped off by a quarterback keeper by Eli Surber good for a 20-yard touchdown. Diego Calderon nailed the extra point for a 26-13 lead with 4:17 left in the third quarter.
TCA went on a quick scoring drive resulting in a three-yard touchdown by Addison Coleman. The extra point was good for a shrinking 26-20 lead for the Rebels with 3:34 left in the third quarter. Disaster struck on the next possession when a pass from Eli Surber got tipped and intercepted by Addison Coleman. TCA’s Kevin Davis scored two plays later to tie the game 26-26. The extra point failed leaving the game tied.
The Rebels settled down and got a good drive going that carried into the fourth quarter. Bryston Diggs got loose for a 25-touchdown and the extra point good by Calderon with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter.
TCA got the ball in good field position after the kickoff and scored quickly on a 34-yard run by Kevin Davis. The Lions attempted a 2-point conversion which was nullified on a penalty so they settled for a long extra point by Lopes tying the score 33-33 with 8:45 left in the quarter.
The two teams swapped possessions until disaster stuck the Rebels again on an interception by Addison Coleman that was returned 72 yards for a touchdown with 2:03 left in the game. The extra point was good giving TCA a 40-33 lead. McKenzie was not able to do anything with their ensuing possession and turned the ball over on downs after a fourth down pass attempt was batted down. TCA ran out the clock to preserve their homecoming win.
Coach Wade Comer was pleased with the effort. “We are getting better each week. If we stay focused, we’re gonna make it.”
Eli Surber rang up 210 yards passing while Bryston Diggs had a career night running the ball for 237 yards. TCA has this week off but will travel to Union City on September 28. McKenzie travels to Waverly this week.