Tigers to host Chillicothe in District opener
After being upended by Centralia for the 2nd straight Senior Night, the Macon Tigers will look to make another run in the state tourney.
Only this time, it will be a little different, with the new playoff system in place for 2012.
The District is eight teams large, compared to four in previous years, and it is set up like a District Basketball tournament.
Macon earned the 4th seed in the tournament, which gives them a home game in the first round.
Their opponent for this first round will be the Chillicothe Hornets.
In the few games the Tigers and Hornets have played together, Chilli has come out on top many times.
Macon and Chillicothe met at Hugh Dunn Field for the 1969 Homecoming game, with the Hornets winning 41-0.
In 1992, Chillicothe would take another win from Macon, 17-7.
1996 was more of the same, as the Hornets took a 38-6 win. 2000 and 2001 saw Chillicothe take two more wins from Macon, 34-14 and 23-18 respectively.
This season, Macon went a great deal farther than any predicted, and Chillicothe has struggled in the mighty MEC.
The Hornets' record which stands at 2-7 overall (2-5 MEC) should be seen as misleading, as Chilli battles in a conference that touts powerhouse teams like Maryville, Savannah and St. Joseph Lafayette.
Chillicothe, under the command of head coach Phil Willard, packs some big guys, on both sides of the ball, that will test the Tigers' mettle.
"Chilli's record is very deceiving as they play several class 4 schools," Macon coach Pete Claas said.
"They play very physical football running between the tackles. The run out of multiple sets including unbalanced Power T."
The signal-caller for the Hornets is a junior named Tyler Clampitt (6' 2" 170 lb.), who has completed only 39% of his passes (49-124) for four TDs and nine pickoffs.
On the ground, the Hornets' primary threat is senior fullback D.J. Gannan (6' 0" 170 lb.).
Gannan has rushed 114 times for 538 yards and four TDs in 2012.
"We don't see this type of offense very often, so it is difficult to prepare for," Claas said.
"We will need to play very well on the offensive and defensive line."
Through the air, Clampitt's first target will likely by junior split-end Zach Alperin (6' 0" 180 lb.). He has hauled in 16 completions for 304 yards and three TDs.
Up front on the line, the Hornets have the size to protect the quarterback. Even then, Chillicothe has struggled to put up points against the dominators such as Maryville, Savannah and Lafayette.
The Hornets average just under 12 points per game, while their opponents score more than 30 points a game.
Yardage wise, Chilli averages 238 yards of offense in a game, while the opposition averages 364 yards a game.
One thing the Hornets have in their favor would be penalties. Chillicothe has a total of 43 penalties, while their opponents have a total of 63.
In their week nine game, the Hornets traveled to St. Joseph for a battle with the Benton Cardinals. Chilli would win 21-0.
Macon, as we all know, has their Senior Night spoiled, once again, by Centralia last week, 20-7.
Chillicothe has had the Tigers' number in past match-ups, but it has been 11 years since the two have met, so will there be new life in the rivalry. If so, some wounds never fully heal up.