August 31, 2018—The Excelsior Springs Tigers Football Team rallied in their season opener to win against the Southeast Knights 41-25.
Head Coach Mark Faubion said the Tigers gained control of the game and capitalized offensively against a team with very skilled athletes.
“We didn’t lose our head. (We) stuck with what we know works and offensively that became just handing the ball off inside and getting 10 yards over and over again. Doing it repetitiously where they couldn’t stop it,” he said. “Defensively we were able in the third quarter to get a hand on what they were doing and keep their athletes bottled up.”
Addressing the long gains Southeast players achieved against the Tigers, Faubion said the Knights have a wide receiver and running back who could play for anyone in Kansas City. He said it’s hard to stop those kinds of athletes. The Tigers forced turnovers and scored the win.
In the first-quarter junior Tae Rainey rushed for 19 yards over two back-to-back plays setting senior Corbyn Hutchings up to rush for two yards earning the Tigers its first touchdown of the regular season. Junior Jett Rivera’s extra-point kick proved to be good making the score 7-0 with 7:20 left in the first quarter.
The Knights rallied back as Jaleon Teague rushed 33 yards for a touchdown with 6:43 left in the quarter. With Southeast’s Gordon Jones kick attempt being good, the score became 7-7.
Tigers junior Rocky Mullin ended Southeast’s Ra Shod Wilson’s 13-yard rush, but Doedy Patterson successfully received Tavion Karim’s 32-yard pass resulting in the Knight’s second touchdown with 6:07 left in the first quarter. Karim’s pass attempt at a two-point conversion failed to leave the score 7-13.
The Tigers began the second quarter off with an 11-yard rush by Rainey. Senior Jackson Creason then took advantage of his teammates’ previous play rushing 3 yards for a touchdown with 11:45 left in the second quarter leaving the score 13-13. The Knight’s blocked Rivera’s extra-point kick attempt.
With 2:23 left in the second quarter, junior Brandon Gluhm recovered a fumble resulting in a touchdown for the Tigers. Hutchings’ two-point conversion rush attempt proved to be good leaving the Tigers in the lead 21-13.
The Tigers ended the second quarter with senior Cody Shreckengost intercepting Karim’s pass ending Southeast’s drive.
With 4:49 seconds left in the third quarter, Southeast’s Dequanta Tenner completed a pass for 72 yards resulting in a touchdown. After a failed rush attempt, the score updated to 21-19. Directly after, officials ejected Southeast’s Patterson from the game for fighting.
Southeast earned another touchdown with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter after Tenner rushed for 23 yards. This left the score 21-25.
The Tigers rallied rushing for a total of 50 yards resulting in Hutchings rushing for 8 yards scoring a touchdown with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter. Creason’s failed rush attempt left the score 27-25. The Tigers continued their fourth-quarter rally with Rainey’s 19-yard rush resulting in a touchdown with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter. After Rivera’s successful kick attempt, the score became 34-25. With 22 seconds left in the game, Rainey attempted a 38-yard pass to junior Ethan Cole. Cole completed the pass resulting in the Tigers’ sixth touchdown of the game. Rivera’s successful extra-point kick resulted in a 41-25 victory for Excelsior Springs.
Faubion said the crowd support proved to be huge for the team Friday night. The team noticed the crowd he said.
Friday, the Tigers host St. Joseph Benton, 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
The team proves to be similar to Excelsior Springs, Faubion said. They run the ball as much as the Tigers, he said, maybe even more.
“We both run the ball a ton and that’s what we want to establish and that’s what we want to be the forefront of what we do well,” he said.