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McKenzie parties on Lake Co. turf

McKenzie parties on Lake Co. turf
 McKenzie’s “Revenge Tour” rolled into Tiptonville Friday night.

The cleanup will be extensive.

The Rebels avenged a regular season loss for the second time in as many weeks, destroying Lake County 53-0 to earn a spot in the Class 1A semifinals.

McKenzie (11-2) now stands just one step from a return trip to the BlueCross Bowl state championship game and must win a fourth straight road playoff game to do so — this week at Jo Byrns (12-1).

Having gotten payback from Union City in Round 2 with a last-minute 17-14 triumph over the Tornadoes after a 21-16 Week 4 loss, the ninth-ranked Rebels left LC in ruins in Friday’s rematch as retribution for a 38-35 regular season setback.

The lopsided triumph also represented McKenzie’s sixth shutout this season and marks the fourth time in the last eight seasons that the Rebs have made it to the semifinals — twice in Class 2A and two times in single-A.

McKenzie intercepted the Falcons four times, blocked a pair of punts and returned a block field goal for a touchdown in its dominating performance that ended Lake County’s seven-game winning streak and season with an 8-5 record. The Falcons, who’d rallied in the final seconds and/or overtime to win its first two playoff games, dressed just 19 players for the contest.

Max Arnold, who made the play of the game with a sliding fourth-down catch that kept the Rebels’ winning drive alive against Union City, was again a hero for McKenzie against Lake County.

He returned the first of his two interceptions for a 32-yard touchdown with the game not yet two minutes old, set up a second score with his other pick and scooped up a field goal that the Falcons had blocked and scooted 26 yards to paydirt on the final play of the first half to help McKenzie to an insurmountable 33-0 lead.

Jake Johnson, fresh off a 172-yard, two-TD performance against UC, again was a key variable in the Rebel equation.

Johnson rushed for 176 yards and two scores and caught a 30-yard pass from Austin McKinney for a third TD.

McKinney had another touchdown toss — a 14-yarder to Nick Chappell — and completed 5-of-9 for  yards.

Lake County never could get its high-octane improvising offense in gear and managed just 96 total yards to McKenzie’s 399. 

In other Round 3 playoff games of local interest from Friday:

CLASS 2A

Milan 51, JCS 28

It can be safely said that the Bulldogs have the Eagles’ number.

Unbeaten and second-ranked Milan beat JCS for the fourth time in two seasons as Jobronski Gilbert ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns in a contest that was not nearly as close as the final score might indicate.

Justin Coleman ran for a TD and threw a 54-yard pass to J.W. Williams for a second score as the Bulldogs followed up a 34-21 regular season triumph over the Eagles and two similar triumphs over JCS last season.

Milan, which led 51-14 before the Eagles made the score respectable against reserves, will now host Goodpasture (9-4) in the semifinals.

Will Johnson scored all four Jackson Christian School touchdowns, three on runs and the other an 87-yard kickoff return.

CLASS 3A

Mitchell 41, Dyersburg 35

For the second straight year, the Trojans’ inability to defend the pass against the Memphians led to their playoff exit.

Robert Redman threw for 474 yards and four touchdowns, and Kelwone Malone caught 13 balls for a whopping 353 yards and three scores to pace the Tigers.

Jason Click ran for two TDs and threw for two to pace Dyersburg (10-3), which led 28-21 at halftime but did not gain a first down after the intermission until the final four minutes.

CLASS 4A

Henry Co. 28, Melrose 26

The unbeaten and second-ranked Patriots stopped a game-tying two-point conversion with no time left to escape Orange Mound with their third close playoff victory in as many seasons against Melrose.

HC overcame three first-half turnovers and a 20-14 fourth-quarter deficit as Marsalis Teague ran for 110 yards and a touchdown and threw a nine-yard pass to Skylar Haley for a second touchdown. 

LSU commitment Dominique Allen had 88 yards rushing, including a 16-yard score.

Haley’s 75-yard interception return for six points in the final minutes proved to be the ultimate difference.

Melrose was haunted by a missed PAT kick and two failed two-point conversions.

Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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