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McKENZIE (September 13) — The McKenzie Middle School Rebels are still undefeated after a 22-6 victory over Milan Thursday. The score belies the dominance of the Rebels, who outgained the …
McKENZIE (September 13) — The McKenzie Middle School Rebels are still undefeated after a 22-6 victory over Milan Thursday. The score belies the dominance of the Rebels, who outgained the Bulldogs 240-146 in total yards and led 22-0 before Milan scored.
The McKenzie defense held the Bulldogs to six first downs and just one third down conversion and only allowed them inside the Rebel 35 twice.
The Rebels kicked the ball off to start the contest. A failed onside attempt gave Milan the ball at midfield. Undaunted, the McKenzie defense quickly forced a three-and-out, then blocked the punt to start at the Bulldog 40.
Rebel Etijay Tharpe ran for five yards, then quarterback Jackson Cassidy kept for ten and a first down. Next, he threw to Rashad McCreary for a 24-yard touchdown. Ty Anderson converted for two points, and McKenzie led 8-0 with just over five minutes left in the opening frame.
Another short kick gave Milan the ball at the Rebel 49. Hunter Johnson stopped Bulldog Carmelo Jones at the line for no gain, then Jones fumbled and recovered it himself for a five-yard loss. Quarterback Adam Wright passed on third-and-long, but it was picked off by Rebel Bryson Steele and returned to the Milan 34.
Tharpe lost a few yards, then Zay Webber ran 17 to move the chains. Tharpe gained eleven for a first-and-goal at the 9, then McReary took a direct snap into the end zone. A penalty set McKenzie back on the two-point attempt, and Tharpe was stopped short. With 2:20 to play in the first, the Rebels led 14-0.
Milan began the ensuing drive at the Bulldog 44, but netted just one yard on four plays to turn the ball over.
Cassidy’s throw on first down was intercepted by Bulldog Irvin McCurry, with Anderson making the immediate tackle.
The Bulldogs took over at their own 27. Jones gained four as the quarter ended, then ran for 31 on the first snap of the second frame. Hank Fisher was stopped by Johnson after a one-yard gain to the Rebel 36. Wright threw incomplete, and a blocking penalty set Milan back to midfield. On second-and-22, Jones was taken down by Anderson and Cassidy for an eleven-yard loss. With McCreary bearing down, Wright threw incomplete, and Milan punted.
Starting at the far 40, Rebel Drew Chappell gained eleven. On the next play, an illegal block by McKenzie made it first-and-25. Cassidy threw to Steele for 12, then Tharpe lost four yards. On third-and-long, Cassidy found Anderson open for 41 yards. Tharpe broke loose and was knocked out of bounds at the 1, then Cassidy scored on a sneak. The QB tossed to McCreary for two points, and the Rebels led 22-0 with just over three minutes until intermission.
Milan started at the Bulldog 44, and Anderson pressured Wright into an incomplete pass. Jones ran for 18, then Wright threw to Tanner Norwood for 20 yards. Ja’Varius Williams then ran 18 yards for the lone Milan touchdown. Wright kept on the two-point try, stopped short by McCreary. With under two minutes to play in the half, McKenzie led 22-6.
The Rebels made a strong effort to score quickly before the half, moving the ball to the 23 and spiking it to stop the clock with three seconds left. Cassidy heaved it to near the end zone, but Bulldog Hugo Green came down with the pass and was tackled as time expired.
McKenzie received the second-half kick and earned back-to-back first downs. The run game stalled, but Cassidy kept on fourth-and-one to earned another first at the Milan 20. Penalties doomed the promising drive, and McKenzie faced fourth-and-25. Zach Aird’s punt was blocked by Green, and Milan took over at midfield.
The Rebel defense held strong, and the third quarter ended with a near interception by Chappell on third-and-five. The Bulldogs went for it on fourth down to start the final frame with Jones on the carry. Chappell wrapped up his ankle and held on until Cassidy and Tharpe moved in for the finish. Jones lost the ball on his way to the ground, and Aird scooped it up.
McKenzie returned the favor with a fumble on the first play, and the Bulldogs took over at their own 26.
Tylen Cherry ran for five to start the drive, then Wright threw to Williams for a huge gain down to the Rebel 29. Daniel Latimer stopped Cherry for no gain, then Fisher ran for three. Wright tossed to Norwood for 20 for a first-and-goal at the 6. DJ Sangster was dropped for a six-yard loss by Johnson and Latimer, then Tharpe broke up a Wright pass toward the end zone. Williams gained eight, but was stopped by Chappell at the 4. On fourth-and-goal, Wright’s pass fell incomplete, and McKenzie took over with 1:46 remaining in the contest.
Cassidy kept three straight times to earn a first down, allowing the Rebels to maintain possession and celebrate the 22-6 win as time expired.
Rebel quarterback Jackson Cassidy was five-of-eight passing for 102 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Rashad McCreary had one catch for a 24-yard touchdown. Bryson Steele had two catches for 23 yards. Ty Anderson caught one pass for 31 yards, and Zach Aird had one catch for 25.
Cassidy led in rushing with nine carried for 53 yards and a touchdown. McCreary ran three times for 19 yards and a touchdown. Etijay Tharpe carried eight times for 30 yards, and Zay Webber ran four times for 24 yards.
Hunter Johnson led the defense with four tackles (one for a loss) and three assists. Jackson Cassidy had four tackles (one for a loss) and one assist.
The Rebels (6-0) host Henderson North Thursday, the final home game and Eighth Grade Night. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.