Traditional rivalries pitting school vs. school, community vs. community, and sometimes even family vs. family are one of the things that make high school football so great. The Giles County Bobcats and Marshall County Tigers are one such rivalry in middle Tennessee. Both teams entered this contest with the solid record of 4-2 and are in good shape in their respective regions. However, a win over their bitter rival could elevate the season from good to great for either squad.
Marshall County was gifted the first scoring opportunity of the game just minutes into the 1st quarter. Giles County received the opening kickoff and was forced to line up in a punting formation after a quick three and out. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the long snap sailed over the punter’s head and gave the ball to Marshall County at the Giles County 5 yard line. Kamron Liggett carried the ball into the endzone two plays later on his first of two first half TDs to put the Tigers up 7-0 early. The Bobcats would quickly bounce back behind senior QB John Bachus. Bachus is a big, strong armed quarterback and he had the Giles County offense humming in the first half. Giles County focused on the short to intermediate passing game with Bachus delivering accurate passes to his receivers. Knox Birdsong caught two first half touchdowns from Bachus and Dre Garrett hauled in a third.
Marshall County has a playmaking quarterback of their own in Bryce Wallace. Wallace didn’t have as many attempts as Bachus but he did show control of the offense. He posed a legitimate rushing threat when running the read option with RB Kamron Liggett. Wallace also has a big arm and hit speedy receiver Devontavious Wilson on a go route down the sideline for a 39 yard touchdown pass. Both offenses encountered little resistance before the break with the score tied 21-21 at halftime.
The fireworks continued at the beginning of the 2nd half. On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Kamron Liggett burst through the Bobcat defensive line and raced 59 yards for the Marshall County score. Liggett is a bigger rusher but displays good feet and agility on his runs. He was the focal point for the Tiger’s offense in this game and was often incorporated as a decoy on the play action pass. Giles County wouldn’t even need one play from scrimmage to even the game once again. Eric Cannon took the ensuing kickoff for the Bobcats and returned the ball an electrifying 95 yards for the touchdown. The score was once again tied, this time at 28-28.
The kickoff return touchdown was the last score of the game for Giles County. The offense that had found so much success in the first half seemed out of rhythm after the break. John Bachus matched his three first half touchdowns with three second half interceptions. Devontavious Wilson, Hunter Cummings, and Joseph Freeland had an interception each for Marshall County as the Tigers pulled away. Kamron Liggett added two more scores for Marshall County to bring his total to five rushing touchdowns in the ball game. Hunter Cummings tacked on a one yard score after his interception to bring the final tally to 48-28 in favor of Marshall County. The Tigers will now prepare for a pivotal Region 4-4A showdown with Spring Hill next Friday night.
Quotes from the game:
– Marshall County’s Kamron Liggett on his offensive line: “I love my big men. They worked really hard tonight. I wouldn’t have had any of the opportunities I had tonight if it weren’t for them. They blocked well, I was patient, and they had the cut for me.”
-Marshall County’s Joseph Freeland on defensive turnaround in 2nd half: “We went in there and figured out what we needed to do. We all came together and stopped arguing. Just got to it. We figured we couldn’t run certain coverages and just went out there and manned up and really took it to them.”
-Marshall County Coach Thomas Osteen on upcoming week: “You’re playing for a chance to win a region championship. We’ve put ourselves in a great position. If we don’t take this week seriously…you don’t want to have any regrets about it. I wish we were in school this week (Fall Break). We’re not. We have to be mature this week and get our work in despite us not being in school.”