Injuries Abound as Warriors Fall Short of Title For Third Consecutive Year

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Hunter Zeman catches a screen pass before rolling around senior lineman Corey Tucker for a huge gain down the sideline. That play would lead to a Zeman touchdown late in the second quarter (PHOTO: Chandler Morrison)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn.–The Class 2A State Championship ended in heartbreak for Marion County as the Warriors fell to Trezevant 42-20 while sustaining key injuries on both sides of the ball late.

Hunter Zeman and Cory Murray, both seniors, suffered injuries that required them to leave the field on stretchers as the Marion County Warriors (13-2) ended the 2016 season in Cookeville for the third year in a row.  The status of Zeman and Murray is unknown, but they were both responsive and talking as they left the stadium on Saturday

The 2016 2A State Championship ended with a similar result as the year before, as the Warriors fell to Trezevant for the second season in a row, but such is life in a Class 2A that has been hit or miss in previous years.

“We just weren’t able to get the job done today,” said Marion County Head Coach Joey Mathis. “Our guys came out, laid it all on the line and left it all on the field. We will go back, do the work in the offseason and get better for next season.”

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The Warriors and Bears await the coin toss before the 2016 Class 2A State Championship Game (PHOTO: Chandler Morrison)

Trezevant came out fast and scored early on a 19-yard run by Class 2A Mr. Football Back of the Year Cordarrian Richardson to give the Bears a 6-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter. Class 2A Mr. Football Lineman of the Year finalist Hunter McClain answered quickly with a one-yard touchdown to give Marion County a 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Trezevant scored on a pair of Tywon Johnson rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to extend the lead to 20-7 with 5:09 left before halftime. Marion County looked to be heading into halftime with a two-possession deficit until Toney Sampson found Hunter Zeman on a 27-yard touchdown to cut the Trezevant lead to 20-13 with six seconds left in the first half.

The Warriors came out in the second half quickly as McClain found the end zone on a two-yard run to tie the game up at 20-20 with 7:17 left in the third quarter. Marion County and Trezevant were tied heading into the fourth quarter.


Watch Our Post-Game Recap From Cookeville!


The fourth quarter was all Trezevant as the Bears outscored Marion County 20-0 to close out the game. Trezevant out-rushed Marion County 163-8 in the fourth quarter and held the Warriors without a first down.

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Joshua Reed rushes the ball to the outside on an early-game drive. Reed would be named the Defensive MVP of the game. (PHOTO: Chandler Morrison)

Marion County defensively gave up 345 rushing on 44 carries and held Trezevant to 47 yards passing. Class 2A Mr. Football Lineman of the Year Alex Kirkendoll finished with 10 total tackles including one tackle-for-loss and 9 solo tackles. Jacob Saylors and Cory Murray each totaled seven tackles in the loss to Trezevant.

“Defense played well but we didn’t help ourselves,” said coach Mathis. “There are some situations on film that we could’ve done better as a team and as a coaching staff. They [Trezevant] had us schemed up well and made the plays that were needed to be made.”

Saylors led the Warriors offensively as he rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries for an average of 6.5 yards per carry. McClain helped pace the Warrior rushing attack as he added 40 yards rushing on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Sampson added 73 yards on 7-for-16 passing and one touchdown.

Tywon Johnson led Trezevant as he rushed for 207 on 15 carries and three touchdowns. Johnson was awarded Offensive MVP for his performance in the State Championship. Mr. Football Richardson rushed for 87 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.

“Every year is a new year, said coach Mathis. “These stadium lights are going to burn out but these players will go on to be successful individuals in life. Our players played with incredible amounts of heart and I will take them any day of the week over any team. It was an honor to coach these guys this season.”

And at the end of the day, health and character are all that should matter.

BOX SCORE

THS — 6  |  14  |  0  |  22  ||  42

MCHS — 7  |  6  |  7  |  0  ||  20

SCORING SUMMARY

1st (8:26) Cordarrian Richardson, 19 yard rush [Tywon Johnson 2-point conversion No Good]
Trezevant 7, Marion County 0.

1st (4:56) Hunter McClain, 1 yard rush [McElroy Kick Good]
Marion County 7, Trezevant 7.

2nd (11:10) Johnson, 5 yard rush [Johnson 2-point conversion No Good]
Trezevant 12. Marion County 7.

2nd (5:09) Johnson, 8 yard rush [Joshua Reed 2-point conversion Good]
Trezevant 20. Marion County 7.

2nd (0:06) Toney Sampson 27 yard pass to Hunter Zeman [McElroy Kick No Good]
Trezevant 20. Marion County 13.

3rd (7:17) McClain, 2 yard rush [McElroy Kick Good] Marion County 20. Trezevant 20.

4th (11:44) Johnson, 77 yard rush [Richardson 2-point conversion No Good]
Trezevant 26. Marion County 20.

4th (7:11) Richardson, 17 yard rush [Johnson 2-point conversion Good]
Trezevant 34. Marion County 20.

4th (2:34) Jonathan Gatewood, 26 yard rush [Johnson 2-point conversion Good]
Trezevant 42. Marion County 20.

Contact Chris King at TheSpearSportsBlog@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @chris_king64!

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