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MTZ football improves to 2-0 with 39-28 win

Grant McAtee is tackled into the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown in a 39-28 Braves’ win against Troy Triad.

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

When a team has an elite wide-receiver like Brayden Trimble, teams look to key in on his offensive ability. Troy Triad did just that, but senior wide-receiver Grant McAtee stepped up with nine receptions for 205 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns and a tipped pass in a 39-28 Mt. Zion Braves win.

“I haven’t really processed it yet,” McAtee said. “Coming into the game I was a little nervous, Triad has some big kids all the way around and they are a good program and good football team. They have a great coach and they have highly disciplined kids. I was trying to stay in the touring of what our coaches are telling us to do and having Brayden Trimble, who in my opinion, is the best receiver in the state. Using him as a decoy just kind of helped me up my game tonight. And Makobi (Adams) put every throw that he threw on the dot right to me.”

With the game tied 7-7 and a Knights’ punt, Adams found Trimble on a 39-yard pass that got the Braves on the 17-yard line. Adams then fired a short pass to McAtee who finished with a 17-yard touchdown. Gabe Shumaker nailed the extra point to give the Braves a 14-7 lead.

The Braves’ defense contained the Knights forcing them to turn the ball over on downs when Joey Jordan sacked Isaac Ackerman on 4th down with two yards to go. The Braves were forced to punt on their next drive.

The Knights tied the game at 14-14 after Louis Yohannes threw a 26-yard pass to Tashon Cockarell for a touchdown. Adams then fired a 64-yard pass right on the numbers to McAtee that got the Braves within two yards of the endzone. Adams then took the ball up the right-side for a two-yard touchdown. The Braves elected for a two-point conversion, Adams handed it off to Trimble and took off. Trimble fired a pass to Jc Anderson that was caught in the endzone to give the Braves a 22-14 lead.

The Braves’ defense contained the Knights next drive that ended with a punt. Adams stepped up once again and fired another on the numbers pass to McAtee that ended in a 48-yard touchdown pass and the extra point was good to give the Braves a 29-14 lead with 1 minute and 10 seconds left.

The Knights attempted to March down the field with the remaining time. On the last play of the half, Ackerman attempted a hail Mary pass that ended up being intercepted by Chase Fink.

The Knights got the ball to start the second half, but the Braves’ defense contained the opposition. Shumaker nailed a 17-yard field goal to give the Braves a 32-14 lead with 5 minutes and 14 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Braves’ defense contained the Knights, allowing only 14 total points while the Braves got seven more. McAtee and Jayger Damarin came up with big-time deflected passes, Cameron Schroth and Fink with big-time tackles and Jordan added another sack on the night.

“I would say the deflection was my favorite moment from tonight,” McAtee said. “We took pride in our defense tonight. There were a couple late touchdowns here and there, but our defense really stepped up and set the tone for our offense. We knew coming into the season that our offense is gonna be stellar, returning all of our skill players and our lines really stepping up right now. I think our defense stepping up and making the play at the end really kind of helped boost us to the victory.”

The Braves improve to 2-0 overall. The Braves will face Salem next week and kickoff will be at 7 p.m.

“I think our kids adjusted and we did some things, based on what they did,” Head Coach Patrick Etherton said. “I think that really the positive thing is, our kids played a big physical team and our kids did well and they didn’t back down. Triad’s a tough team, they have 1,200 students. I think now we can say what do we have to fix and improve. It wasn’t a perfect game, but anytime you can win a big football game, it’s pretty awesome.”

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