McKenzie Tigers end season with loss to Red Level Tigers
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2006
After missing the Class 1A playoffs by just one game, the McKenzie Tigers closed out the 2006 season at home Thursday night against the Red Level Tigers.
The Tigers of Red Level emerged victorious, 48-0, but McKenzie head coach Miles Brown sees endless potential in a program that improved from 0-10 last year to 3-7 this year.
“These guys have bought into what we're trying to teach,” Brown said. “These guys get along with each, there is no animosity between them and when one player gets down, everybody works hard to get them back up.”
As an example of how far these Tigers have come, following Thursday night's loss, Brown said several players stayed to work out, already preparing for next season.
It's a work ethic like that, Brown said, that is going to propel McKenzie back into the Class 1A spot light.
“You don't win football games in the football season,” Brown said. “You starting winning football games in January, February, March and April.”
Prior to Thursday night's game with Red Level, the Tigers' lone senior, Daniel Ballard, was recognized for his years of McKenzie athletic service.
“Daniel is a great leader for our football team, he brings his heart to practice everyday and he loves McKenzie,” Brown said. “I swear to you, if you cut that boy he'll bleed navy blue and gold.”
As the game began, the Red Level Tigers took little time to establish that they were playing for momentum heading into the playoffs.
After forcing McKenzie to punt, the Red Level running back raced 33 yards for the touchdown on the first offensive play from scrimmage.
After the extra point failed, the Red Level Tigers led 6-0.
On Red Level's next possession, the Tigers once again scored on a run, this time marching down the field to punch it in from one-yard out.
Red Level tacked on the extra point and then added another score on the first quarter's final play with a three-yard touchdown run.
With the extra point, Red Level led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Just as they did in the first quarter, with 9:33 remaining in the half, Red Level returned a punt 52 yards for the score, making the lead 27-0 after the extra point.
McKenzie drove past the 50-yard line twice after the Red Level touchdown, but both drives ended on turnovers.
Red Level was able to take advantage of the second turnover and punched it in from 10 yards out to take a 34-0 lead into halftime after McKenzie once again turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.
“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Brown said. “We had too many mental breakdowns against a really good team and you can't do that.”
McKenzie recovered a successful onside kick to start the second half but Red Level held the Tigers on four plays.
The Red Level quarterback punched it in from one-yard out with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter to give the Tigers a 41-0.
On McKenzie's ensuing drive, the Tigers fumbled in the end zone and Red Level recovered for the score, thus ending the night, 48-0.
“Red Level is a really good ball team,” Brown said. “I told our guys, look at Red Level and that's where we want to be.”
With McKenzie losing only one senior from this year's squad, Brown said things are looking up in South Butler County.
“Our future really does look bright at McKenzie,” Brown said.