Forest takes down Tylertown 14-7 in second round matchBy ALLEN ARDREY AND BILLY FREEMAN,
The Bearcats continue to move their way up the 2017 MHSAA Football Championship bracket by winning their second-round home match which was played against the valiant Tylertown Chiefs with a score of Forest 14 and Tylertown 7.
Ranked 9th in the 3A division 90th in the state of Mississippi, the Chiefs ended the playoffs with an overall record of eight wins and five losses. The Bearcats are ranked 4th in the 3A division, 48th in the state of Mississippi, and continue into the round three of the 2017 MHSAA Football Championship with an overall record of 10 wins and three losses this year.
Though the match was neck-and-neck for the majority of the game, big plays were made by both teams defensively and offensively.
Tylertown’s #6 Ty James scored a 56-yard rushing touchdown with a good point after kick a couple minutes after the play clock began counting down to the Bearcats ultimately defeating the Chiefs. Followed by the first and only touchdown by the Chiefs, the Bearcats received the kickoff from Tylertown. Flexing their defensive abilities, the Chiefs sacked the Bearcats’ quarterback and forced Forest to punt.
A couple minutes later, Tylertown, unable to move the ball past the impeccable defense of the Bearcats, punted to Forest and they started their drive on the 12-yard line. The Bearcats drove all the way into the Chief’s red zone by making a number of clever offensive maneuvers to break through the tight Tylertown defense. Unable to capitalize in the red zone, the Bearcats missed a 30-yard field goal attempt by a small margin and turned possession of the ball back over to Tylertown on their own 20-yard line. That possession marked the end of the first quarter and the score was Forest 0, Tylertown 7.
A quarterback sack by the Bearcats pushed the Chiefs back their 17-yard line to start the second quarter. Shortly after the quarterback sack, Tylertown was forced to punt and Forest started a powerful drive on the Bearcat 43-yard line. Three minutes after the drive began, the Bearcats had pushed into the red zone, which was followed by an 8-yard rushing touchdown by Forest and the point after touchdown was good.
After scoring their first of two touchdowns, Forest kicked off to Tylertown and they started a mighty drive that ended in the red zone as the Chiefs were forced to turn the ball over on downs with under six minutes remaining in the half. Without hesitation, the Chiefs steadily sacked Forest’s quarterback on the 50-yard line, and then tackle a Bearcat on Forest’s 43-yard line. The half ended their with a tie game, Forest 7 and Tylertown 7.
To open the second half Tylertown kicked off to Forest, who made a lengthy kickoff return to start the third quarter possession on Tylertown’s 45-yard line. As in the first quarter, the Bearcats missed a 30-yard field goal attempt to turn possession over to the Chiefs on their 20-yard line. Four minutes later, the Chiefs were forced to punt to Forest, and Tylertown sacked the Bearcats’ quarterback to end the third quarter. The score when the third quarter closed was still tied at a touchdown apiece for both Forest and Tylertown.
Forest moved the ball within Tylertown’s 20-yard line one minute into the fourth and final quarter of the game. Two minutes later the Bearcats scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown and a successfully kicked point after touchdown. For the remainder of the half, the two teams showed excellent defensive prowess, and the Bearcats and Chiefs kept each other from scoring. The final score of the game was Forest 14, Tylertown 7 in a close and well-played contest between two great teams.
On offensive, the Bearcats carried the ball 53 times for 267 yards and two touchdowns, both by #6 R. Murrell (Sr.) who had 20 carries for a total of 141 yards himself. Quarterback #14 Jacob Brooks (Jr.) completed two passes out of an attempted six for 52 yards.
Defensively, the Bearcats made a number of critical plays that made for grand opportunities on which their offense capitalized on frequently. Coach Jonathon Worrell said, “Our defense did an amazing job. They gave up the quick score on the first series, but then adjusted to Tylertown’s speed and shut them out the rest of the way.”
The advancement of the Bearcats into the third round of the 2017 MHSAA Football Championship pits Forest against the Hazlehurst Indians this Friday, the 17th of November at 7:00 p.m. Coach Worrell said, “Our kids are extremely excited about the opportunity to travel to Hazlehurst again in the playoffs. They have an excellent program and force you to play at your best, which is just the type of competition that our kids thrive on.”
The Indians, ranked 5th in the 3A division, are ranked one below Forest in their region. The Indians and the Bearcats have similar overall records; Hazlehurst has a record of 10 wins and two losses, whereas Forest has a record of 10 wins and three losses. Best-of-luck to the Bearcats as they travel to Hazlehurst for this quarterfinals match in the playoffs.