By: Jim Steele
When McKenzie began it's 2017 football campaign at Huntingdon, it seemed like, in addition to the new carpet at Paul Ward Stadium, the Mustang defense unfurled a red carpet for McKenzie's offense.
The Rebels marched 64 yards in 12 plays, using 4:34 of the clock while landing on the Mustang 7. But the Rebel drive bogged down and things fizzled after a missed field goal. The wind of fortune and momentum shifted and McKenzie's sails went flat.
Huntingdon embarked on a five-play, 80-yard drive, aided in large part by a 51-yard pass from Kade Pearson to Dallas Willis. The Mustangs scored, flipped the momentum and defeated a demoralized Rebel team 34-0 Friday night.
This was not what the Rebels expected, following their 34-0 blowout of Westview in the Henry County jamboree last week. McKenzie looked quite proficient on its opening drive, but when it dried up, Huntingdon rose to the occasion. Mustang quarterback Kade Pearson asserted himself. He was 9-10 passingfor 186 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 13 times for 118 yards and a touchdown. His two scoring aerials were to Tyrese Mebane with 4:32 to play in the second quarter and a 10-yard strike to Elijah Wilkerson with 9:18 to play n the fourth.
The Mustangs enjoyed a lot of production from other sources as well. Mebane scored on a 16-yard run on the last play of the first quarter. Brandon Lawton scored on a 24-yard run wth 5:54 in the fourth.
McKenzie really struggled to establish anything after the opening drive. The Rebels went three-and-out on ther next three series and managed only one first down in the second quarter. Huntingdon led 21-0 at halftime, but one had an idea that if the Rebels could experience some kind of success, they might have a shot.
For a time, it seemed as if McKenze might get that shot. The Mustangs fumbled on the second play of the third quarter and the Rebs promptly engaged a 12-play drive that consumed over seven minutes, reaching the HHS 17. Two Huntingdon offside penalties helped the drive along, too. But the drive bogged down after a sack and and incomplete pass.
The Rebs suffered three more three-and-out series to close the game.
Rebel quarterback Zach Jarrett was 8-14 for 54 yards passing. Joseph Miller had 21 carries for 41 yards. Hunter Stafford led the Rebel defense with five stops. Lorenzo Haynes had four. Dallas Willis had 10 tackles to lead the Mustangs.
Huntingdon, 1-0, will visit Waverly 7:30 Friday night. The Tigers blotted homestanding Camden 43-0 Friday night. McKenzie, 0-1, meanwhile, will visit West Carroll, who suffered a 14-0 loss at Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central in its opener.