With a victory over the rival South Shelby Cardinals under their belts, the Macon Tigers hit the road Friday night for their first road game of 2013.
The venue was Lankford Field, and the opponent was an old foe, the Monroe City Panthers. Last season, the Tigers claimed an 18-point win over Monroe at Hugh Dunn Field. This season, the Panthers have a new head coach and several talented players back for another year.
Monroe City would win the coin toss, but would defer to the second half, giving the Tiger offense the first shot.
Starting at their own 37-yard line, QB Craig Smith quickly connected with WR Brendan Watts for a 16-yard gain and a first down at the Monroe 47.
After two six-yard runs by Chris Little, and a pass completion to Caleb Perry, Smith would take off and run 27 yards for a Tiger touchdown. Brandon Sontheimer added the extra point, giving Macon a 7-0 lead with 9:46 left in the 1st.
After the ensuing kick, the Tiger defense quickly forced Monroe into a 3rd and long situation, but QB Grant O'Bryan connected with tight-end Dylan Buckman for a 20-yard gain. Eventually though, a penalty would stall the Panther drive, forcing them to punt.
On the punt, the Tiger defense would burst through the line and block the punt. Defensive back Ty Smithson would cover the ball, setting Macon up at the Monroe 31.
After two false-start fouls pushed the Tigers to a 3rd & 9 at the 20, QB Smith would connect with Watts for a 20-yard TD completion. Sontheimer's extra point gave Macon a 14-0 lead, which would be the score after the first quarter ended.
Four plays into the 2nd quarter, the Tigers would strike again, as Smith hooked up with Watts again on a 37-yard pass for another Tiger TD. The PAT made the score 21-0 with 10:20 until halftime.
On Monroe's next drive, a pair of good runs by Noah McAfee, and a pair of passes from O'Bryan to Jonathan Shuck got the Panthers into Macon territory and, with 2:49 left in the half, running back Tariq Garner broke in on a 1-yard touchdown run, making the score 21-6, following a missed PAT.
The Panther defense would start to get to the Tigers on the next drive, as Macon would fumble the ball. Lineman Mike Douglas covered it, setting Monroe up at the Tiger 39.
After three plays, O'Bryan connected with Shuck on a 22-yard TD pass, making the score 21-12 at halftime, with Macon still leading.
After both teams stalled on their first drives of the second half, Monroe would fumble the ball, and Tiger Lukas Still covered it.
On Macon's third play following the fumble, Smith went to Watts for the third time, this one a 62-yard strike for a TD, giving Macon a 27-12 lead.
Page 2 of 2 - After forcing a Panther punt, Macon quickly drove into the Monroe redzone, setting up at the 20-yard line as the third quarter came to an end.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Smith hit Watts for the fourth time, this one a 20-yard strike. Sontheimer's PAT made the score 34-12 with 11:51 left in the 4th.
After Macon forced the Panthers into another punting play, kicker Kyle Fulton tried to run the fake, coming up short, giving the Tigers a short field at the Monroe 37.
Little, Joe Lewis and Luke Mosley each had runs to get Macon down to the Panther 1 and, with 7:13 to go, Little punching it in for the game's final score, giving Macon a 40-12 lead.
The Tiger's second-string offense were given a chance to score. A combo of Austen Harrison, Trae Adams, Ethan Pagliai, Jace Glover and Ethan Freeze set Macon up at the Monroe 4, but the game would end there.
QB Craig Smith would go 9-16 on passing, for 188 yards and four TDs. Joe Lewis had 11 rushes for 83 yards. Chris Little had 34 yards on nine rushes.
Josh Turner would get 11 tackles, with Brandon Sontheimer getting eight. Kaleb Welch had two sacks, with Jordan Lolli getting one.
Macon moves to 2-1 overall (2-1 CCC).