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SECOND ROUND BOUND

McKenzie defeats Loachapoka, looks to Linden in round 2

 

It was a back-and-forth kind of game Friday night in McKenzie, but the home-standing Tigers came out on top and advanced to the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

The Tigers defeated the Loachapoka Indians 54-32.

The game was scoreless until under a minute left in the first quarter when McKenzie’s Kamren “Bo” Daniels scored from 3 yards out.

Jakarrie McPherson’s extra point was good, putting the Tigers up 7-0.

On the kickoff, Loachapoka’s Dexter Rudolph had a long kickoff return that placed the ball on McKenzie’s 45-yard line.

The quarter ended with the Tigers up 7-0.

In the second quarter, Rudolph had a 3-yard touchdown, putting the Indians on the board.

McKenzie’s Dale Lucas stopped an Indians’ two-point conversion.

Loachapoka would score again and their two-point conversion was good, putting the Indians up 14-7.

Daniels put another Tigers touchdown in the end zone, but the extra point was no good. Loachapoka was still up 14-13.

McKenzie found the end zone once more before the half was over, putting them up 19-14.

Loachapoka answered back on the last play of the half and went up 20-19.

In the third McPherson scored a touchdown, putting the Tigers up 25-20.

Loachapoka went up by one again in the third, making it 26-25.

But Daniels was not having that.

He scored again near the end of the third, putting the Tigers up 31-26.

Loachapoka had a quarterback keeper at the end of the third quarter, putting them up 32-31, but that’s all they would manage on the local Tigers.

McKenzie went on to score three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take the win.

McKenzie head coach Drew Luker said that the game against Loachapoka looked eerily similar to the game against Georgiana.

“We were up 19-14 right before halftime, thinking we were going to go into halftime with the lead,” he said. “They went up 20-19 att the half. It had been back and forth, we had gotten some stops.”

Luker said that they moved the ball the whole first half and came out and got a score in the second half. A Loachapoka fumble and Tigers’ recovery swung the momentum, he said.

“We pulled away,” he said. “We talked to our guy about  long facing adversity all year long,” he said. “And about having the most heart and character. I’m really proud of our guys. They have embraced this.”

Luker said everyone is health on his team in terms of injuries and COVID-19.

Looking ahead to Linden, the 1A powerhouse is undefeated.

“They play a very physical style of football,” he said. “They are going to run right at us on offense, and be very physical on defense. We are going to have our hands full.”

Luker said in order for McKenzie to get the win, they are going to have to match Linden physically.

McKenzie travels to Linden to take on the Patriots.

As reminder, all tickets must be purchased online in advance as seating is limited.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.