After being dropped by Centralia for the second time in two years, the Macon Tigers opened Class 3, District 6 action Thursday night at home, as the 4th seed, by hosted the 5th-seeded Hornets of Chillicothe.
The Hornets, who has won just two games all year, play in the Midland Empire Conference, which contains the likes of Savannah and Maryville, so they know how to hang with tough teams.
The Hornets would defer to the second half after winning the coin toss. Macon moved the ball into Chilli territory, but would fumble it away shortly thereafter, recovered by Hornet Johnson Young.
Macon would have the Hornets at 3rd and long on their first drive, but a long pass from QB Tyler Clampitt to receiver Walker Thomas, and a late-hit penalty on the Tigers, set up a 30-yard field goal attempt by D.J. Gannan, who split the uprights to give Chillicothe a 3-0 lead after a quarter of play.
Macon started to drive down the field again, but would go to 4th down, and a 27-yard field goal try by Andre Reynolds would go wide left, keeping the score 3-0.
The two sides would trade turnovers in the 2nd quarter. Macon's Josh Turner would pick off a Hornet pass, but on the next play, Chillicothe's Tommy Kincaid picked off an errant pass from Smith.
The score would hold until late in the first half, when Chillicothe drove down and scored on a 7-yard run by Tyler Long. The extra point from Gannan was no good, making the score 9-0.
On Macon's next drive, QB Smith would be picked off by Clampitt at the Tiger 45, and would be returned for a score. Gannan's made PAT gave Chillicothe a 16-0 halftime lead.
The Hornets had the ball to start the second half, but Macon would force a fumble to get the ball in Chillicothe territory.
From the Hornet 45-yard line, QB Smith sent a pass over the top to split-end Brendan Watts for the score. Tyrone Walker caught the 2-point try, and the Tigers trailed by just eight, 16-8.
Two minutes later, the Hornets responded with Tyler Long's second TD of the night, a 50-yard run to paydirt. Gannan's PAT put Chillicothe ahead 23-8.
Long would put a third touchdown on the board with 3:02 to play to cap off the scoring, giving the Hornets a stunning 30-8 win over Macon.
Macon would turn the ball over a combined five times. Ball security had been a problem for the Tigers all season.
Macon's season came to an unexpected end, with their record at 6-4 overall.