MALAKOFF–The Malakoff Tigers didn’t get the start to the 2021 season that they hoped for after falling to the Grandview Zebras in their home opener Aug. 27.
After making a late drive against the Zebras, the Tigers were set on sending the contest to overtime before a blocked field goal ended hopes as they fell 24-21.
Both teams were held fruitless on their first drives of the season as the Tigers drove down to the Zebras’ 30-yard line but were stopped on fourth down.
After advancing back into Grandview territory, Tigers running back Duce Hart broke free of multiple tackles on his way to a 39-yard rushing touchdown to open the scoring, giving Malakoff a 7-0 lead after a successful point after attempt by Juan Gonzales.
The Zebras got their second quarter started with a little help from their defense, as well as the Tigers’ offense as a bad snap on a fourth down punt attempt was punched out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make it a 7-2 game.
Grandview’s offense delivered just over two minutes later with a 29-yard touchdown pass to take a 9-7 lead with 7:07 remaining in the first half.
With Malakoff driving late in the second quarter, the Tigers got deep into the Zebras’ red zone before a fumble was recovered by Grandview at their own one-yard line. Malakoff was able to stop Grandview and regain possession in the final minute of the second quarter.
With 24 seconds remaining until halftime, Tigers’ quarterback Judson Driskell connected with wide receiver Corey Phillips on a 25-yard touchdown pass after a mad scramble to put the Tigers back in front 14-9 heading into the locker room.
After deferring the kickoff, the Zebras received the ball to start the second half.
Grandview scoring quickly on an 11-yard touchdown pass in the first four minutes before a successful two-point conversion put them on top, 17-14.
Hart answered three minutes later on his second touchdown of the night after a 29-yard rush into the end zone as the Tigers regained the lead, 21-17.
Malakoff’s defense was on full display as well as Quintin Fulton recovered a fumble on the Tigers’ 25-yard line after Austin Massingill knocked the ball loose.
The momentum was short lived as a tipped pass led to an interception by the Zebras just 50 seconds later.
The Tigers still had the lead entering the fourth quarter before a late score from the two-yard line gave the Zebras a 24-21 lead with just 2:55 remaining in the game.
With the Tigers facing fourth down from the Zebras’ 25-yard line with under 30 seconds left, Hart was able to get the Tigers to the 10-yard line before a Grandview timeout with 16 seconds remaining.
The Tigers attempted one more play, but Hart was brought down, and Malakoff had to rush back to the line but were able to spike the ball and stop the clock with two seconds remaining.
As Malakoff Head Coach Jamie Driskell ushered his field goal team out onto the field, the Tigers look to drill one through the uprights and send the game to overtime.
With the ball snapped, Gonzales delivered a kick that was promptly blocked and recovered by the Zebras, ending the game on a sour note for the Tigers.
Malakoff (0-1) looks to pick up their first win of the season as they take the field at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3 on the road against the Van Vandals (1-0).