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Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • Tigers get rematch with Centralia for Semis

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  • The first matchup of 2013 between Macon and Centralia was one that Tigers fans would love to forget.
    The two teams played pretty even through the first quarter, but the host Panthers took control from there, en route to a 49-14 rout of the Tigers.
    Now, less than two weeks later, the Tigers have a chance for payback, just as they did in 2010.
    For those that don't remember, the Tigers and Panthers played twice that year. In the first matchup, both teams were unbeaten and looking for a District title. Centralia would pull out a narrow win in that game, forcing Macon to hit the road for a Regional game.
    After beating on Clark County in the Regional game, the Tigers returned to Miller Field for a rematch. Macon would take full advantage of the second chance, scoring the games first 42 points, leading to a 42-16 crusing of Centralia.
    The Tigers should have a good idea of what to expect in this second shot at the Panthers. One thing that burned the Tigers more than others were all the short passes that Centralia threw against them. Macon is pretty good at covering the long pass, but has trouble covering the little things.
    Sure, Panther quarterback Zach Etzler, along with running back Cullen Ralphs, are a big threat to run, but Macon cannot forget about the aerial targets.
    Wide-receivers Chandler Blackwell, Gannon Peavler, and Logan Armontrout are all key players Macon must watch carefully.
    Armontrout hauled in a TD pass on the first play from scrimmage in the first game, and Blackwell caught a good amount of the short passes, so the Tigers must account for them.
    Macon must also find a way through the Hoover Dam that is the Panther line. Tiger runners Chris Little and Joe Lewis were held to a combined 83 yards rushing in the first matchup, so Macon must improve on that.
    The Tigers must also make use of their receiving corp. Brendan Watts is the main target for senior QB Craig Smith, and Centralia knew this. The Panther defense keyed in on Watts, and the Tiger receiver had only five catches, which amounted to 106 yards and a touchdown.
    As for the Tiger defense, they have to be on their toes for the entire game.
    Centralia seemed to move the ball at will in the first matchup, both through the air and on the ground. Macon must find a way to contain the Panther run game, especially Etzler, who led his team on the ground in game one, with 105 yards on 17 carries.
    What's on the line in this game? Keeping the season alive and earning a spot in the District final against most likely California.
    The Pintos are 9-1 on the season, having only fallen to Blair Oaks on the road by one point.
    Page 2 of 2 - In 2010, the Tigers got their payback against Centralia after falling the first try.
    Only time will tell to see if Macon has the game needed to make history repeat itself.
    It's bound to be a packed house, so get there early Thursday night!
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