Indians clinch playoff berth in Friday's win
Marked Tree (6-3, 4-2 2A-3) clinched a spot in the upcoming state football playoffs with a 45-29 victory over Cross County last Friday in Marked Tree. The first half was an offensive affair as the second half saw the Marked Tree defense put the clamps on the Thunderbird offense.
It didn't take Cross County long to find the end zone using two plays to cover 40 yards with Marquez Turner rushing in from 23 yards less than a minute into the game. The extra point was good to make it 7-0 Cross County. Dylan Hunt recovered the Thunderbirds onside kick attempt on the Cross County 48-yard line. Facing third and long, Cameron Mitchell broke loose for a long run to give the Indians a first down. Blake Daniels made it 7-6 with a 24 yard touchdown run with 8:41 left in the opening quarter. Mitchell added the two-point conversion run to make it 8-7 Marked Tree. Anfernee Davis gave the lead back to Cross County as he scampered 63 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after the Marked Tree kickoff. The two-point conversion made it 15-8 Cross County. Marked Tree drove down into Thunderbird territory but a Tyre Wofford fumble was recovered by Cross County on their own 20-yard line with 7:59 left. Marked Tree forced a punt with 5:56 left and took over at their own 33-yard line. Brody McCrary scrambled in the pocket before finding a wide open Kedrick Tyler for a 63 yard touchdown pass with 4:29 left. Tevin McGee scored the two-point conversion to give Marked Tree a 16-15 lead.
Cross County forced the Indians to punt to open the second quarter to start on their own 48-yard line. Cross County decided to go for it on fourth down and Marked Tree's Terry Carter came out of the pile with the ball and returned it his own 45-yard line with 8:44 left in the third. Marked Tree got down inside the Cross County 30-yard before Tyler laid out for a pass completion taking the ball down to the one-yard line. McGee rushed the ball in on the next play giving Marked Tree a 22-15 lead. McCrary found Daniel Rucker open for the two-point conversion to make it 24-15 Indians. Cross County returned the favor as they recovered a Mitchell fumbled with 1:27 left before half. Turner took a handoff up the middle and raced 54 yards for the score with 31 second left. Turner addd the two-point conversion as the teams went to half with Marked Tree up 24-23.
The third quarter saw the teams trade punts as neither team could get their offenses on track. Cross County will have the ball on the Indians 43-yard line when the fourth quarter starts.
Turner scored his third touchdown of night for Cross County as he bolted 43 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. The two-point play was no good leaving the score 29-24 Cross County. Marked Tree was quick to take the lead back as Tyler took a handoff and found open room taking it 45 yards on the Indians second play of the possession. McCrary again found Rucker for the two-point conversion to give the Indians a 31-29 lead with 10:55 left in the fourth. Marked Tree forced Cross County to punt on their next possession with 10:01 left. The Indians offense continued to roll as they drove down and scored on Mitchell's 13 yard run with 8:52 left. The two-point conversion was no good leaving the score 38-29 Marked Tree. Cross County turned the ball over on downs as the Marked Tree 24-yard line with 6:27 left. Mitchell added another score for Marked Tree as he bounced out of the pile and ran 63 yards for the score. Josh Simpson kicked the point-after to set the final score at 45-29.
"The kids played hard and we are getting healthy," Marked Tree coach Waylon Dunn commented after the game. "They score, we score and they score again, the kids could have gotten their heads down, but they didn't. I tell them it's not a one man show, someone different steps up each night. We executed well tonight, being able to run and pass kept them a little off balance," Dunn said.
Mitchell led the ground game with 119 of the Indians 291 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Daniels and Tyler each added a rushing touchdown. Tyler caught three passes for 91 yards and a touchdown as McCarary hit five of eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown pass.