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The Metter Tigers improved their record to 2-0 this past Friday night with a wild 62-31 win over the South Effingham Mustangs.
It was all offense as the two teams combined for 93 points and nearly 1,000 yards. The number six ranked Tigers amassed 614 yards of total offense: A school record 509 yards rushing and 105 yards passing.
Albeit early, the defensive numbers for this year’s Metter squad are a little concerning. The Tigers allowed over 300 yards of offense for a second straight game. They only gave up over 300 yards once last season, and that was in the loss to Irwin County. Last year’s defense only allowed three touchdowns all regular season versus seven through two games this year.
That stat is not to bash this year’s team in any way, but to show how historically good last year’s defense was and how spoiled Tiger fans were by last year’s success.
One very positive trend developing this season is Metter’s second half play. Coach Rodney Garvin and his staff are as good as any at making halftime adjustments and taking games over in the second half. Of the seven touchdowns allowed this season, only two of them have come in the second half.
Coach Garvin expected this however. He told us in his post game comments, “I knew coming into this season we would be leaning heavily on our offense early until we get our defense settled.” Ultimately what matters is the final score and Coach Garvin summed it up well: “We are finding a way to win.”
Surprisingly, the 62 points scored is not a school record. Metter scored 68 points back in 1983, and if you dig deep in the history books, you find an 85-0 win over Lyons in 1950.
The offense was led by Josh Kelly who had 241 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns. Antwan Coney tacked on another 77 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Ethan Oglesby and Kaliq Jordan also found the end zone for the Tigers.
Quarterback Trey Hall showed off his arm, completing five passes on seven attempts for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Jayceon Lanier and Danny Cheley on touchdown passes of 18 and 39 yards respectively.
Defensively, Kaliq Jordan led all tacklers with nine tackles and Metter snagged three interceptions. Trey Hall, Antwan Coney and Ethan Oglesby all had interceptions.
South Effingham received the opening kick-off and wasted no time getting the scoring started. They established the passing game on their opening drive, completing five of six passes on their way down the field, including a 20-yard pass from Kaden DeGenaro to Joell Laidee to find the end zone and take the early lead. Following the Liam Rickman extra point, the Mustangs had an early 7-0 lead.
Metter would answer back quickly. The Tigers’ first play of the game was a 14-yard run by Danny Cheley. Two plays later Trey Hall connected with Cheley on a 16-yard pass to move the ball to midfield. Antwan Coney moved the ball into South Effingham territory on a seven yard run, and then Josh Kelly got loose on a 44-yard touchdown run. Kelly took the hand-off up the middle, followed his blockers into the open field, then out ran the Mustang defense to the end zone. Zach Davis made the extra point to tie the game up at 7-7.
South Effingham was forced three and out and had to punt on their second possession, giving the ball back to the Tiger offense at the 48-yard line.
A short loss and penalty had Metter behind the chains facing a third and 15. Trey Hall dropped back to pass, but he was flushed out of the pocket.
Hall scrambled through the middle of the defense as he ran out of bounds on the near sideline at the 30 to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive. The Tiger rushing attack continued to march the ball down into Mustang territory as the first quarter came to an end.
On the first play of the second quarter, Trey Hall hooked up with Jayceon Lanier on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Lanier snuck out of the back field and settled in the right flat. He threw his hands up to let his quarterback know he was open, and when he caught the ball at the 10-yard line, he was all alone to jog across the goal line for the score. Zach Davis made the kick to give Metter a 14-7 lead.
South Effingham’s next drive would last only two plays. On the second play of the drive Kaden DeGenaro’s pass would find the arms of Metter’s Ethan Oglesby. Oglesby returned the interception 17 yards to set the Metter offense up at the South Effingham 20-yard line. It only took the Tigers three plays to find the end zone. Josh Kelly scored his second touchdown on the night on a 13-yard run. Another Zach Davis extra point gave Metter a 21-7 lead, and it started to feel like the Tigers were taking control of the game.
South Effingham would have something to say about that rather quickly. On the very first play of their next possession, Jamari Fields broke a 58-yard run to set the Mustangs up deep in Metter territory at the two-yard line. Two plays later Jakeim Leeks punched it in for the score. Liam Rickman made the extra point to pull South Effingham a little closer at 21-14.
The Mustangs finally slowed the Metter attack on the Tigers’ fourth possession. Metter was forced to punt after going three and out, but the snap got away from punter Zach Davis. Davis tried to recover the loose ball but South Effingham scooped it up and took over at the Metter five-yard line. It took just one play for Jakeim Leeks to find the end zone and tie the game up at 21-21.
Much like two heavyweights exchanging blows, Metter would answer right back with a two-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.
Play one was Josh Kelly on a 25-yard run to move the ball out near midfield. Play two was Ethan Oglesby with a 55-yard touchdown run. Oglesby came in motion and took the hand-off over the right tackle. He picked up a couple of great lead blocks, ran through a mass of white shirts practically untouched and sprang into the open field. The defense didn’t even trouble themselves with chasing the streaking Oglesby as he scored to give the lead back to his team. Trey Hall connected with Cole McCranie on the two-point conversion to give Metter a 29-21 lead.
South Effingham began to establish a bit of a rhythm running the ball on their final possession of the first half, picking up four first downs and moving the ball down inside the red zone, but the drive stalled there. Liam Rickman came on to attempt a 33-yard field goal. Rickman’s leg was true to put three more points on the board for the Mustangs and cut the Tigers’ lead to 29-24, and that would be the score at the break.
Metter would get the second half kick-off, and they got right back to work. They put together a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. The drive was capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by Antwan Coney. This time the two-point conversion failed, but the Tigers extended their lead to 35-24.
The Mustangs couldn’t do much with the football on their first possession of the second half and quickly had to punt the ball right back to the Tigers. The punt only made it out to the 49-yard line, setting Metter up with great field position.
The Tigers cashed in on the good field position in just five plays. Josh Kelly ran the ball on four straight plays to pick up a first down and get Metter to the South Effingham 39 yard line. The fifth play was a 39-yard pass from Trey Hall to Danny Cheley. Cheley came out of the back field on a wheel route to the left side. He raised his hand calling for the pass and Hall hit him in stride. When Cheley caught the ball there wasn’t a Mustang player within 10 yards of him, and he crossed into the end zone without pursuit. Zach Davis made the extra point to push Metter’s lead out to 42-24.
The Metter Tiger defense really only gave up two big plays in the entire second half. One of those was South Effingham’s final touchdown -- a 70-yard pass and catch from Kaden DeGenaro to Jamari Fields. Fields got one step on the Metter defender as he looked back for the ball and that was all he needed. He caught a perfectly thrown ball from DeGenaro and raced down the side line for the score. Liam Rickman made the extra point to make the score 42-31, Metter.
The Tigers would score three unanswered touchdowns to close out the victory.
Kaliq Jordan scored on a 16-yard run with 1:24 remaining in the third quarter. Jordan took the hand-off around the left side, made one cut and turned it north and south. He slipped past one last would-be-tackler and took it to the house. The two-point try failed again, but the Tiger lead now stood at 48-31.
Josh Kelly scored his third touchdown on the night on the very first play of the fourth quarter. Metter had the ball deep in South Effingham territory following an Antwan Coney interception, and Kelly would plunge it in from two yards out. Zach Davis made the extra point and the Tigers lead grew to 55-31.
Metter would tack on one more score before the final horn sounded. This time it would be Antwan Coney from six yards out. Coney took the hand-off around the right side, cut back up the middle, ran through two Mustang tacklers and crossed the goal line for the game’s final score. Zach Davis made it a perfect 6 for 6 on extra points to give us our final, Metter over South Effingham 62-31.
We caught up with Tiger Head Coach Rodney Garvin after the game to get his thoughts on the victory. “ Rollercoaster of a game. We got a big lead and lost it, fought back and got the lead and held it. This was the highest scoring game I have ever been a part of.
“Our offensive line was tremendous and our backfield ran so hard. Trey Hall played very well. After halftime in both games this year we have made adjustments defensively which have stopped the bleeding so to speak. Proud again of the resolve and determination of our kids.
“Our fan support has been tremendous. We have a much needed bye week to work on some things before we travel to Savannah and play a very good Savannah Country Day team. Go Tigers!”
Score By Quarter
MHS29:30J. Kelly 13-
yd run (Z.
MHS Kick-off Returns
SEHS Kick-off Returns
MHS Punt Returns
SEHS Punt Returns
Kicking Z. Davis