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Tigers manhandle Rebels, 42-0
On target: Quarterback Josh Magaw gets plenty of protection as he looks down field for a reciever in Friday’s game. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The Groves Rebels came into Ovley Field and were quickly humbled by a dominating Tiger squad. By the end of the evening, the Rebels looked completely drained as the Tigers outscored their opponent, 42-0.
The offense spread the wealth as Josh Magaw, Mike McGirt, Sheldon Barnes, Kintura Kyle and Terrance Jemison scored the touchdowns for the game. Joey Lliso was six of six in point-after attempts.
Early in the first quarter, the Tigers were called for a late hit against the Rebels and that set the evening’s tempo. The Tigers were relentless in their hits and, on several occasions, the crowd cringed at the sound of a Tiger defender bringing down their opponent.
With 6:08 left in the first quarter, Magaw handed the ball to McGirt who found an opening to the outside and walked in to the end zone for the Tiger’s first touchdown of the evening.
On the first two offensive drives, the Rebels set themselves back with three false start penalties. Rebels’ quarterback Cameron Tillman threw a pass on third-and-five that was nearly intercepted by Curtis Bryant Jr.
On fourth down, the Tigers blocked the punt placing them inside the Rebels’ 37-yard line. Magaw and Jemison carried the ball, bringing the Tigers into the 27-yard line. Barnes then carried the ball for four yards. McGirt brought the ball to the six-yard line and then Magaw kept the ball for the second touchdown run of the evening and a 14-0 lead with 2:31 left in the first quarter.
McGirt carried the ball for 35 yards down to the Rebels’ 35-yard line, followed by a handoff to Jemison for the third Tiger touchdown to start the second quarter 21-0.  
The Rebels’ Reggie Wimberley dropped a pass that cost them a possible six points. Two plays later, Magaw intercepted a Rebel pass giving the Tigers the ball at the 35-yard line.
Magaw then connected to Jemison who carried the ball, but a penalty against the Tigers negated the catch. Magaw connected again with Jemison who brought the ball to the 19-yard line. Barnes then carried the ball to the 10-yard line. McGirt carried the ball just shy of the goal line but another holding call placed the Tigers back at the 16-yard line. Jemison carried it in for another Tiger touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
The Rebels’ running back made a play for positive yardage but paid the price when Magaw tackled him, knocking him out of bounds at the 35-yard line. With a 28-point deficit, the Rebels decide to go for it on the fourth down and made it to the 11-yard line for a first down inside the Tigers’ territory.
But it was not meant to be for the Rebels as the quarterback was intercepted in the end zone by Tiger defender Keddrick Brown, who denied them any points on the board.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers moved the ball to the 18-yard line on a couple of carries and then ran it in for the Tigers’ fifth touchdown and 35-0 lead.
With a significant lead, the Tigers brought in their back-up players to rest their veterans for the two last games of the season.
McGirt and Trivon Williams took turns at the quarterback position and coming in as running backs were Marques Wallace and Greg Butler. Kyle placed the last touchdown of the evening on the board for the Tigers.
McGirt, Barnes and Jemison each put up about 90 rushing yards apiece and the Tigers’ offense had 62 passing yards and 363 rushing yards for the evening.
“Groves is one of those teams we normally have a knock-down, drag-out fight with,” head coach Jim Walsh said. “Before the game, we talked to the players and explained what we needed to do at this point to make the playoffs. Camden and Jenkins are locked into playoff spots, so we needed to step up and make plays and stay within contention.
“We went onto the field and we were ready to play and we scored on every possession in the first half,” he said.
Walsh also said the defense stepped it up when they needed to, twice denying touchdowns to Groves while inside the Tigers’ red zone.
The win places the Tigers even with Jenkins at 4-1 in the region with powerhouse Camden County holding the 3-AAAAA lead at 5-0. If the Tigers play the way they did Friday night against Savannah, they should walk away with a victory.
The true test for the Tigers will come Nov. 9 when they travel to Camden County.
The one loss the Tigers had in regional play was against Jenkins. The Tigers were unable to shut down Franklin Green’s running game.
Camden County crushed Jenkins on Friday night, holding Green to only 10 yards in 13 carries and outscoring Jenkins 37-0. This sets up a three-way challenge for the top spot and championship title.
In addition to placing them in a playoff position, the game allowed Walsh to see what his team may look like next season.
“We lost Wilson Brown, our freshman quarterback starter of last season, this season with a knee injury,” Walsh said. “But we get him back next year along with Demario Day, McGirt and Williams; and all of them can pull the trigger in a game when needed,” he said.
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