By: Jim Steele
McKenzie football coach Wade Comer called this season one of the most difficult he's ever experienced during his tenure. The Rebels finished with a 5-6 mark
But he praised this edition of Rebels' resolve and strong finish.
"We had a lot of highs and lows. We had some tough losses early on to Camden and Adamsville. We had four straight losses and that was tough on us and these young men," Comer said. "We had some guys go down with some serious injuries and that meant we had some people who had to play in different positions who weren't ready to play, but they stepped up."
But this team didn't give up.
"Proud of the way this team kept fighting and pushed through. We were competitive, we kept practicing and we scrapped our way back into the playoff picture," Comer said. "We sort of dug ourselves a hole and we had to play No. 1-seeded Waverly in the first round of the playoffs."
The Rebels suffered a 42-27 loss at Waverly to end the season, but Comer pointed out that McKenzie's effort against the Tigers was the best up to that point.
"We scored more points on them than anybody until Memphis-Trezevant scored 36 on them a few weeks later," he said. Trezevant defeated Marion County for the 2A state title last weekend.
The coach said he's counting on his players coming back to provide strength and leadership. "We need to push through and work hard for next year."
McKenzie members of the the Region 6-2A included Lorenzo Haynes, Zach Jarrett, Bransen McCaleb, Julius Owens and 6-2A offensive MVP Eric Robinson. Robinson finished with a record-setting career for McKenzie. He carried 780 times for 4,492 yards and 84 touchdowns as McKenzie's all-time leading rusher. Rebels earning 6-2A honorable mention were Sean Beck, Lucas Waddell and Tyler Spivey. Michael Floyd and Robinson were selected to play in the West Tennessee all-star game.
Captains this year were Robinson and McCaleb. Robinson claimed the running back award. Floyd was the defensive back awardee. Beck won the linebacker award, Owens the defensive line honor. Paul Watkins and Jarrett were each named most improved. Spivey was the top wide receiver.
The Kermit Holland 3-D and J.P. Carter imspired play award went to Robinson. Jake Trevathan was named the Jeff Givens sportsmanship winner. McCaleb was picked for the Howard Nolen team-first award. Academic honors went to Carissa Britt, Maddie Barker, Anna Comer, McCaleb and Watkins. Robinson was named the Mr. Rebel MVP.