Saints slip to 1-2 on the season --
MT. JULIET – The winless Macon County Tigers arrived at Mt. Juliet Christian's Suey Field Friday with a vast array of emotions.
Perhaps the Tigers sense of embarrassment and disappointment were the overriding emotions because in their two games of the season, they had suffered close losses in battles against two of their nearest rivals – Smith County and Westmoreland.
Suffice to say that the Tigers were in no mood to see that losing streak stretch to three games. And almost from the opening whistle until the final horn, Macon County accomplished everything it needed to in a one-sided 55-7 thrashing of MJCA.
“The difference in how you played tonight and how you have played in games the past two weeks is that you came out relaxed,” Coach Kyle Shoulders told his team as they gathered at midfield after the game.
“You can’t play your best when you’re tight. Tonight you focused on your job, on doing what you were supposed to do, and you did it. When you do that, the winning will take care of itself.”
And unfortunately for the young and developing Saints from MJCA, the Tigers focus took care of the Saints, too.
“When you have a young team, it is going to make mistakes,” MJCA Coach Dan Davis. “For us to compete in games like this one, we’re going to have to compete harder, keep working and eliminate the types of mistakes that cost you games.”
Exhibit A of the mistakes Davis had in mind came midway of the opening quarter. After starting at its own 33 following the opening kickoff, MJCA moved to the Macon County 10 behind the passing of Christian Link and a pair of Tiger penalties – the first for five yards because of a false start and the second for 15 because of pass interference.
But with a first-and-goal at the 10, a Link pass was picked off inside the five by Isaac Belton. Following Belton’s return to the Tigers’ 10-yard line, Macon County drove 90 yards on seven plays with Ethan Jenkins scoring from 37 yards out with 5:35 to play in the opening period.
But, the Mt. Juliet Christian Academy mistakes continued, and so did the Macon County scoring. The Tigers added another touchdown with 2:41 left in the first quarter on a 3-yard run by Belton.
A mere 18 seconds deeper into the period, Macon County went up 21-0 on a 40-yard interception return by Jenkins.
If that wasn’t a big enough hurdle for the Saints to overcome, their hole got deeper when Cameron Mercer blocked a MJCA punt that was recovered at the seven, and it was transformed into Macon County’s fourth first-quarter touchdown with 54 second remaining in the period when Cameron Houston powered his way into the end zone from three yards out.
“This was a learning experience,” Davis said, “and we just have to learn. It’s a challenge to overcome these types of mistakes, and it makes it an ever greater obstacle when you opponent is a 4A team with experience.”
By halftime Macon County had spurted out to a 42-0 lead, and the deficit reached 49-0 in the third quarter.
MJCA got its only score with 8:21 remaining when Link bullied his way into the end zone from four years out.
Up next for the Saints, 1-2, is King’s Academy from Seymour. That Sept. 13 game will serve as the homecoming contest for MJCA.
Macon County, also 1-2, is at home on Sept. 13 also, hosting Glencliff out of Nashville.