GAME OF THE WEEK: Marion County’s Last Big 3-2A Test

After pounding the Buccaneers this past Friday and claiming the No. 2 overall spot in Class 2A, it’s hard to root or pick against the Warriors.

That being said, they’ll likely be facing their last big test of the regular season, with only 3-2A games left on their schedule for the remainder of the season.  Tyner on the other hand is struggling to win games with a team that’s extremely better than their record indicates.  It’s really the tale of two top 3-2A teams, with the only difference being their current trends.

tyner has long been a staple of the Chattanooga region and Wayne Turner’s teams don’t go down lightly.  The last time both teams met up–in the 2015 2A quarterfinals–Marion County prevailed but had to fight until the end, only going up by two touchdowns late.  The Warriors need not expect a win, and they won’t knowing Joey Mathis.

Usually a Chattanooga team wouldn’t be much of a worry for a team with one of the best crowds in the Valley (they tie with Sequatchie County at the moment), but the Indians from Dunlap saw, first hand, the effects of a Finley Stadium matchup.  Usually, fans are only limited to one side, the home side, so they sit miles away from their team on the other side of the field.  The cheers die before they reach the ‘C’ logo at midfield.

And sometimes, teams with nothing to lose against a team without its crowd can prevail.  It’s likely, though, that the Warriors will find a way to counter the problem with atmosphere.  After all, they beat Boyd-Buchanan, eh?

GAMETIME INFO:

Marion County Warriors at Tyner Academy (Finley Stadium)

Kickoff Time:  8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

RIVALRY RECAP:  LAST TEN MATCHUPS

Warriors 28, Rams 14; November 20, 2015 (TSSAA 2A Quarterfinals)

Warriors 33, Rams 20; October 2, 2015

Warriors 30, Rams 30; September 19, 2008

Rams 35, Warriors 12; September 21, 2007

Rams 43, Warriors 12; September 15, 2006

Rams 42, Warriors 7; November 11, 2005

Rams 42, Warriors 0; September 16, 2005

Rams 49, Warriors 19, September 3, 2004

Rams, 48, Warriors 6; September 5, 2003

Rams 40, Warriors 10; October 11, 2002

PLACE YOUR BETS

DISCLAIMER:  These are not actual spreads or odds, and cannot be used in kind of sports betting context.

The Spread:  Marion County (-8.5) at Tyner Academy [Finley Stadium, Thursday]

Odds to Win:  Marion County 3 to 2; Tyner Academy 4 to 1

Over/Under (Total Points):  (36.5)

Breaking Down the Bets:  ‘The Spread’ is based on who is favored in the matchup and by how many points.  ‘Odds to Win’ are the odds for a certain team to win that game and is not related to the odds of ‘The Spread.’  The ‘Over/Under’ is how many points both teams are expected to combine for, unrelated to ‘The Spread’ or “Odds to Win.’  These betting lines are simply to display what Vegas would perceive the matchup at and cannot be used in any sports betting enterprise.

QUICK HIT STORYLINES

Tyner will look to break a three-game winning streak against the Warriors, dating back to 2007

Marion County moves up to No. 2 in Class 2A, Tyner remains unranked

Tyner will be looking for Region win No. 2 after falling to Boyd in Week Five

Marion County will be looking to win their fourth straight Region 3-2A matchup this season

INSIDE THE FILM ROOM

The Warriors have their Wing-T offense running on all cylinders as we head into week seven.  More balanced than ever, taking down then-No. 2 Boyd-Buchanan in dominating fashion, Marion County leaves no doubt that they’re destination is Cookeville.  Plain and Simple.  Dominating a defense, that many said was overrated, is an accomplishment in itself, but holding that offense to a goose egg screams championship contender.  With Jacob Saylors and Hunter McClain giving Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Sampson all the help he can handle, Tyner might not be a breeze, but the flow of the game might fly right past the Rams on both sides of the ball.  

If there’s a phrase to describe Tyner’s offense, it would be ‘a tad bit unorthodox.’  The Rams base out of a Pro-Style formation but can vary into slightly modified Wing-T and Shotguns sets.  Tyner can throw, and they showed their clout against Boyd-Buchanan, who they only lost to 22-24 late in the ballgame.  Senior quarterback Shaylan Bailey doesn’t exactly fit the eye test, but he can get the job done in his own style of signal-calling.  Look for rushing threats Rahle High, K’un Webb, and Jeremy Elston who have combined for six touchdowns and over 400 yards on the ground this season.  

GAMEDAY GRADES

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KEY ON-THE-FIELD MATCHUPS

Jeremy Elston vs. Warrior Linebacker Corp

Elston is one part of a three-headed monster, but he’ll have to get past one of the stingiest rushing defenses in the State, let alone Class 2A.  With Kirkendoll headlining the corp, there’s not that can be done on the outside rush.  If only for the defense, this Warriors team is headed to Cookeville and for a win against Tyner.

Isaiah Sampson vs. Tyner Secondary

Sampson, with Jacob Saylors and other improving outside threats, is poised to have a great game, but the Tyner secondary is seasoned, at least with the competition they’ve faced this season.  Tyner can score in spurts and fast.  The speed they possess could give even the Warriors trouble, but they’ll have to start with defending the air attack, keeping the Warriors grounded for the game.  That’s still dangerous, though.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Marion County Warriors

Hunter McClain (Senior Linebacker/Running Back)

Alex Kirkendoll (Senior Tight End/Linebacker)

Eli Morrison (Senior Offensive Lineman)

Jacob Saylors (Junior Running Back/Defensive Back)

Kane Hale (Junior Wide Receiver/Free Safety)

Tyner Academy Rams

Shaylan Bailey (Senior Quarterback)

K’un Webb (Junior Halfback/Split-End/Cornerback/Safety)

Patrick Childress (Senior Outside Linebacker/Running Back)

Devon Waight (Senior Fullback/Linebacker)

Rahle High (Junior Running Back/Cornerback)

Contact Chandler Morrison at TheSpearSportsBlog@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter@RCS_Chandler!

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