By: Jim Steele
ATWOOD, Tenn. - It seemed that, from the very start of its football game Thursday night, McKenzie Middle School was facing an uphill battle at West Carroll.
The host War Eagles took advantage of McKenzie mistakes and field position to stun the Rebels 20-8 and end McKenzie's 16-game county winning streak. The Rebels had not lost a game among Carroll County opponents since 2004, which was, oddly enough, at West Carroll when current MMS volunteer assistant coach Nick Chappell was quarterback. He suffered a minor injury on the last play of that game.
After the game, MMS coach Brad Chappell told his kids that falling in a three-score hole with eight minutes left makes it tough to rally.
The Rebels fell behind 6-0 early after West Carroll capitalized on an early interception, the second in as many drives for MMS. On the night, McKenzie suffered through four picks, but still had a chance to stay in the game.
Two bad breaks may have altered the game. Keenan Taylor bolted for a touchdown late in the first half, but it was nullified by a holding call. In the third quarter, McKenzie ball carrier Holden Stanfill was driving forward when the ball popped loose. It went straight up in the air and into the hands of Noah Lowrance, who had nothing but green pasture in front of him. However the officials rulled Stanfill down before Lowrance could even hit his stride.
Taylor did have a big touchdown return in the fourth quarter to put the Rebels on the board, then recovered an onside kick with under 90 seconds to play. But the deficit was too large to overcome.
The Rebels, 3-1, 2-1, host Gleason 6:30 Thursday night at Rebel Field. The Bulldogs stunned McKenzie 22-8 last year in a game marred by controversy.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We apologize for the second week in a row for having a summarized story. This week, the editor has a family commitment and will be away from the computer. Complete stats, photos and a more complete game story with quotes and more body will post later this weekend. Thank you for your patience. This is the last weekend where other assignments or commitments intercede on Saturday morning. We'll be back on a normal schedule next week.