Macon East shocks sixth-ranked Morgan Academy

Published 12:03 am Saturday, November 3, 2018

Sixth-ranked Morgan Academy had no answer for Macon East’s high-powered passing attack.

Quarterback Tucker Neven threw 336 yards and accounted for four touchdowns as the 10th ranked Trojans pulled off a stunning 35-14 victory in round one of the AISA state playoffs on Friday night.

The Senators finished the season at 9-3. It was the school’s best football season since 2005, but Morgan Academy coach Josh Thacker envisioned a better ending.

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“It wasn’t our night,” Thacker said. “We didn’t play up to our potential. Macon East played lights out.”

Macon East (9-2) grabbed a 6-0 lead on Neven’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Honaker midway in the first quarter.

The Senators tied the game at 6-6 after one quarter on Dionne Allen’s 29-yard touchdown run.

Neven’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Brock Taunton put the Knights up 12-6 at halftime. Macon East never trailed again.

Macon East scored 10 points in the third quarter, extending its lead to 22-6. Jake Gracey’s 21-yard field goal and Neven’s 1-yard touchdown run.

The Senators closed within 22-14 after three quarters on Jeremy Lee’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Hardin Utsey and Lee’s two-point conversion run.

The Knights, however, closed the contest with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put Morgan Academy away. Neven’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Cemen and Kenny Owen’s 4-yard touchdown run.

Macon East coach Glynn Lott credited the Knights’ defense for advancing to the second round against Morgan Academy next week. The Knights outscored Morgan 23-6 in the second half.

“Our defense has played great all year and we made adjustments at halftime,” Lott said. “Our secondary did a great job shutting down their receivers.”

Thacker said third down was the key to the game.

“They were on the field five or six times on third down and we couldn’t stop them,” Thacker said.

Thacker’s eyes watered and his voice cracked when asked about the season. Mason Perkins, Hardin Utsey, Will Lyon and Taylor Jones played their last game Friday night.

“Those guys mean a lot to me,” Thacker said.