“Bigger, faster, stronger.”
That’s how Tanner head coach Laron White described Madison Academy’s advantage over his team Thursday night. In a battle of defending state champions, the Mustangs handed Tanner an emphatic 48-6 loss.
It was Tanner’s first loss since falling to Elba in the 2011 state championship game and first regular season loss since a 2009, snapping a streak of 35 victories.
“That’s one of the best teams we’ve played since I’ve been here,” said White. “
Madison Academy did what Tanner had done to so many teams last year on their way to a state championship. The Mustangs used a power running game complemented by a few play-action passes to jump out to a 21-0 lead that proved too much for Tanner to overcome.
Malik Miller put Madison Academy on the board first on a 1-yd plunge to cap a 6-play drive on the Mustangs opening possession. Tanner responded with an eight play drive that included a first-and-goal for the Rattlers. A penalty backed Tanner up and the drive ended with a fumble on fourth down.
Fumbles would become a common theme for the defending 2A champs. Tanner fumbled five times on the night and quarterback Jonathan Fletcher threw two interceptions.
“We had some chances early on, but penalties and turnovers cost us,” said White. “It came to a point where they were bigger, faster and stronger than us.”
Kerryon Johnson was all of those things for the Mustangs. The All-State running back found a seam in the opening minutes of the second quarter to give his team a 14-0 lead on an 89-yard touchdown run.
Madison Academy made Tanner pay for another turnover just before the half on another touchdown, this time off a 36-yard play-action pass.
Tanner responded after a halftime with a solid drive that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Fletcher to Townsend.
That was as close as Tanner would come, however, as the Rattlers had no response for the Mustangs’ potent offense. Madison Academy rushed for 374 yards behind the legs of Johnson, Miller and Malik Martin.
Hayden Stephens led Tanner with 76 yards rushing, but had two fumbles.
Tanner will have rebound from a rare defeat quickly with a tough road game against Red Bay next week.
“We’ve just got to go back to work,” said White. “Hopefully, we’ll learn from this loss and get ready for a big game next week.”
Mustangs snap Rattlers’ 14 game winning streak
“Bigger, faster, stronger.”
- Local News 2
Athens beats Grissom in final regular season game
The Athens soccer team knocked off one of the top teams in Class 6A in the final regular game of the season. Charlie Holland’s header in the sixth minute was enough for a 1-0 victory over Grissom Tuesday night.
AHS girls headline 7 local teams heading to playoffs
The Athens High girls soccer team is one of seven boys and girls soccer teams going to state playoffs. The defending state champions wrapped up section play Monday afternoon with a 4-0 win over Cullman.
East Limestone wins final 4 region games to make playoffs
Two weeks ago, even the most optimistic East Limestone supporter wouldn’t have thought they could make the playoffs.
The East boys soccer team started region play 1-3 and faced games against three ranked region opponents over the next two weeks.
Since April 8, the Indians have defeated No. 9 Cullman, No. 8 Hartselle and No. 5 Athens to stay in playoff contention.
Athens boys, girls win section titles
Another year, another section title for the Athens girls soccer team. Saturday’s 5-1 over East Limestone gave AHS another region championship and secured a first-round home playoff game.
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Potts inks with Middle Tennessee State
In front of family and friends, Nathanial “Giddy” Potts made his verbal commitment to Middle State University official Thursday.
Potts put pen to paper on the second day of college basketball’s spring signing period. Following a recruiting visit, the Athens senior verbally committed to the Conference USA school in early March.
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Connect Run: Yarbrough, York, Huff overall winners in 5K, 10K, 1M
Blake Yarbrough, competing in the 25-29 age division and setting a 5:49 pace on the inclined 3.1-mile Connect Run course, fended off teens Ryan Ford (18:32), Andrew Snider (19:04) and David Brashier (20:05) on a bright and slightly breezy Saturday morning.
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