JASPER, Tenn. — Coach Mac McCurry is already making history at Marion County.
The first-year coach has the Warriors off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1995 after they toppled rival Whitwell 33-12 in a District 6-A game Thursday at Bill Baxter Stadium
"The community was very charged up, and I'm glad we could provide enjoyment and satisfaction," McCurry said while leaning against the sideline fence and welcoming congratulatory words.
Sophomore fullback Blake Zeman — wearing jersey No. 1, instead of his usual No. 20, in honor of Marion County student Kennedy Griffith who is battling cancer — rushed 14 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. He also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble while playing linebacker.
"It means a lot to be 3-0," Zeman said.
The Warriors scored on the first snap of the game. Jayme Ford took the inside handoff and squirted through a hole on the right side. He dashed through Whitwell's secondary for the 69-yard score just 19 seconds into the game.
The Tigers (1-2, 0-1) opened the second quarter with a touchdown. They marched 82 yards on seven plays.
Dusty McHone did most of the work. He took a toss and raced around the right side 57 yards for the touchdown on fourth down with 11:04 to go in the half.
Marion County closed the half with a 75-yard drive, which included the only pass completion of the half. Deion Riley scored from 4 yards out through the left side, and then quarterback Hamilton Shoemaker plunted in for the conversion and a 14-6 halftime lead.
The third quarter included three turnovers and a touchdown on four consecutive snaps.
Marion County fumbled. Whitwell fumbled. Then Shoemaker went over the top for a 56-yard touchdown pass to Eric Qualls. Then Zeman made his interception.
Zeman gave the Warriors a 26-6 lead late in the third. Bailey Blaylock cut it to 26-12 with a touchdown catch.
Marion County sealed the victory with a 15-yard touchdown run by freshman Josh Henderson.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a lot," Whitwell coach Billy Barnhart said. "We can't have those mistakes in the third quarter. That hurt us bad."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...