“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
TRACTOR PULL: A new generation takes over in Tanner
One of the first families of the Tanner pull is the Haneys. Horace Haney, along with brother, Shirley, co-founded the event in 1976 that draws thousands to the county each year. The sons of those pulling pioneers now run the show.
Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps
After watching his dad pull for the past 20 years, Clay finally got his chance. Although he has pulled multiple times over the years, this will be the first year to compete for points in the Mid-South Pullers Association.
North win streak improves to 12
The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.
Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep
East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.
Davidson helps North tie
She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.
Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game
Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.
Strong local presence at state All-Star Week
Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.
Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide
A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.
State softball tournament begins in Athens today
The three-day, double-elimination event begins at 6 tonight at the Athens Sportsplex.
Run with goats Saturday
Belle Chevre Creamery will hosts the first annual ‘Running with the Goats’ Saturday in downtown Elkmont. The event will feature a 10K, 5K and fun run on the certified Rails to Trails course.
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- TRACTOR PULL: A new generation takes over in Tanner