Tigers win Homecoming match 56-21By MARLAN JONES,
The Mendenhall Tigers dominated from start to finish in their 56-21 Homecoming victory over Richland while rain put a damper on the pregame Homecoming festivities for the fans. Jamiria Sorrell was crowned Homecoming Queen inside the gym before the crowd made their way to the stadium.
The Tigers took the field with high energy eager to put on a show, and they did not disappoint. Keshun “Quick like Lightning” Collier, as announcer Jack Jinkins has dubbed him, brought the crowd to their feet with an interception returned for a touchdown. Defensively the Tigers were locked in from the start and set the tone, taking a 6-0 lead which stood through the first quarter.
The second score of the game was another defensive touchdown by Collier. This play was more electrifying than the last. The Rangers--facing 4th and long on their 35 yard line-- decided to punt. Collier sped through the middle of the line, blocked the punt, recovered it, and returned it for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was good and the Tigers led 13-0. The defense continued to string together stops and build momentum.
When the offense finally began to click the Tigers took off. A methodical drive down the field led by Reggie McLaurin led to another touchdown. The Tigers took a 19-0 lead.
On the next offensive possession the passing game came to life. Quarterback DK Jenkins looked good in the pocket. The offensive line blocked well and gave him time to make plays. In a late second quarter drive, Jenkins completed three passes to three different receivers down field. The drive was capped by a beautifully thrown deep ball corralled by receiver Nick Williams for a touchdown.
The Tigers carried a 25-0 lead into the halftime break.
After the break the Tigers picked up where they left off. Reggie McLaurin broke for a long touchdown run near midfield. The Tigers led 31-0. Richland made a quarterback change early in the third quarter. The Rangers needed a spark and he provided it. After working the ball to the Tigers’ 38 yard line the Rangers finally got on the board with a deep ball thrown over the middle. Tiger safety Jenkins took a bad angle and the ball got behind him and was caught by the receiver for a touchdown. The Tigers still had a comfortable lead at 31-7. Richland was helpless against the Tigers’ offensive attack. Another well executed drive ended with a passing touchdown from Jenkins, who threw a well placed 50-50 ball in the corner of the endzone targeting Walter “No No” Owens, who paid off his quarterback’s trust with an impressive catch after winning the fight for the football. The Tigers led 37-7.
Mendenhall poured it on. Collier scored his third touchdown of the game, and was followed by a pick 6 from Chance Barron to give the Tigers a 50-7 lead. Richland scored on a 95 yard kickoff return to cut into the lead 50-14. The underclassmen played the majority of the fourth quarter to close the game. Running back Jartavius Magee scored the last touchdown for the Tigers on a strong run from the 40 yard line. The final score was 56-21 after a last effort by Richland.
Tiger Head Coach Chuckie Allen said, “This was a big week, and we’re starting to build towards playoff implications.” Allen was proud of the win but continued to preach progress. He said, “We still have a lot to work on, but we’re seeing progress, and starting the year with 16 freshmen we wanted to make sure we get better every week.”
The Tigers are now 2-0 in district play, and will face the Florence Eagles next week in Florence.