With the come-from-behind win over Clark County fresh in their minds, the Macon Tigers made the long trek north to Ewing Friday night to pick a fight with the Highland Cougars.
After falling to Palmyra in week one, the Tigers have gone on a tear, taking wins in the three games since.
The Tigers would win the coin toss, but would defer to the second half.
After the Tiger defense backed Highland into a 3rd down, Cougar QB Austin Richmiller would thread a pass to tight end Cody Wilkens for 24 yards. However, Highland would go three-and-out from there and had to punt.
Macon's first drive looked promising. After being backed up to their own 6 on the punt, RB Chris Little would bust loose on 46-yard run into Cougar territory.
After getting down to the Highland 25, Macon would be forced into a fourth down, and would turn the ball over after a failed pass play.
The Tiger defense would hold once again, forcing a quick three-and-out and another punt.
After a return to the Cougar 43 by Brendan Watts, Macon would take the ball down to the Highland 22. On the next play, RB Joe Lewis took the ball to the 12, and would fumble it back to Highland.
The first quarter would end in a 0-0 tie.
Tiger head coach Pete Claas attributed the lack of scoring to not finishing drives.
"We had two drives; one we shot ourselves in the foot, the other we fumbled," he said. "It's just a matter of finishing drives. That's what it amounted to."
Macon's defense would force another punt, giving the offense a short field. RB Kaleb Welch would take the ball to the Cougar 2 on a 37-yard run. QB Craig Smith would punch it in two plays later for the games' first points. The PAT gave Macon a 7-0 lead with 9:19 left in the half.
The Tiger offense quickly got the ball back and, after a couple of long runs by Smith and Little, Lewis would hit paydirt on a 20-yard TD run. With the PAT, Macon's lead was 14-0 with 4:55 to go.
On the Tigers' next drive, the offense was backed up to its own 13, but an 18-yard pass to Watts, and a 48-yard run by Lewis, set Macon up at the Cougar 14. Lewis would march it in from there for a score. Macon's lead was 21-0.
On the first play of Highland's next drive, Richmiller hit wide-out Laine Sly on a 49-yard pass to the Macon 20. On the next play, Tiger DB Christian Thrasher would snare a pass for a pick-off, stepping out at the Tiger 2.
"That was a huge play," Claas said. "If they had scored, they would've had a lot of momentum going into the second half. We scored two minutes later, so it was a 14-point swing and probably the play of the game."
Page 2 of 2 - After a short run by Smith, a 39-yard run by Lewis gave Macon some breathing room. On the next play, Smith would connect with Watts for a 56-yard TD reception, making the halftime score 27-0.
Both sides would trade possessions to start the third period. On Macon's second drive would take the clock down to the 4:15 mark before completing an 11-play drive with a 4-yard TD run by Little, giving Macon a 33-0 lead.
Highland's next drive saw Richmiller doing a lot of things himself, taking his team to the Macon 40, before the Tiger defense stalled them out, forcing another punt.
The second-string offense took over from there, and Thrasher would get a 42-yard run to the Cougar 20 to end the 3rd quarter. Four plays into the fourth quarter, running back Ethan Freeze would punch it in from 5 yards out for a score, giving the Tigers a 40-0 lead, leading to running clock.
With 2:38 to go in the game, Highland would get on the board against the Tiger second-string "D". Colten Jett would run in from 15 yards out for Highland's first points. The 2-pointer made the final score 40-8, Macon with the win!
"I was pretty pleased with the defense," Claas said. "They put a lot of pressure on the QB, and allowed the DBs to cover."
Craig Smith was 9-18 throwing, for 179 yards and a TD.
On running, Joe Lewis had 120 yards on 12 carries. Chris Little had 118 yards on 12 carries.
Through the air, Brendan Watts had 5 catches for 104 yards. Joe Lewis had 3 catches for 67 yards.