By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County displayed a hard-hitting and physical style of defense in its Homecoming game against Macon County but the Lions couldn't muster enough offense in a 28-6 setback at Schwartz Field Friday (Oct. 3).
Cannon County (0-6, 0-2) suffered its 25th consecutive home loss dating back to 2009.
The Lions' defense has been representative for most of the six games played to date and Friday was no exception.
The scrappy unit had three takeaways, forced two turnover on downs getting off of the field on fourth-down tries and came up with five sacks.
Austin Brock had one of his best all-around games with an interception and a fumble recovery. Ethan Smith forced a fumble, had a sack and six tackles. A.J. Daniel continued his outstanding defensive play with a game-high 12 tackles. Stellar sophomore linebacker Eldon Resco also had another strong outing with 10 tackles and a sack. Case Isenhart, Brock and Smith each had six tackles.
Cannon County's defensive efforts kept the team in the game but the Lions could never get into an offensive rhythm. Starting quarterback Jake Walkup was sidelined with an injury and Josh Walkup got the nod under center.
The only offensive highlight was two big pass plays from Walkup to Wilder Mankin.
Trailing 28-0, Walkup dropped back and fired a spiral to a streaking Mankin who caught the ball in stride 40 yards downfield and outran the Macon County defenders for a 71-yard scoring strike.
It was one of two big plays to Mankin who also had a 61-yard reception in the first half. In fact, the turning point in the game likely occurred following Mankin's first big play.
Trailing 7-0 midway through the second quarter, Walkup completed a short pass to Mankin who did the rest of the work as he jetted 61 yards before being chased down at the 6. The Lions moved the ball to the 4 but a holding penalty moved them back and Walkup fumbled on the next play to end the scoring threat.
Macon County converted the turnover into a touchdown as it marched 88 yards in six plays and scored on freshman quarterback Seth Carlisle's 30-yard run. Carlisle ran for four touchdowns and 107 yards in the Macon County win.
Macon County scored on its opening drive but the Lions kept them off of the board until the late score in the second quarter.
Daniel led Cannon County's ground attack with 64 yards on 13 carries. Walkup was 2-of-13 passing for 132 yards. Mankin was responsible for both receptions.
The Lions will be seeking their first win of the season when they travel to District 8-AA leader Livingston Academy Friday (Oct. 10).