Chris Brooks/For the Times Macon County senior Noah Likens looks for running room behind his blockers during Friday evening’s contest at Livingston Academy.

Chris Brooks/For the Times

Macon County senior Noah Likens looks for running room behind his blockers during Friday evening’s contest at Livingston Academy.

LIVINGSTON -- A light mist fell over Tom Davis Memorial Stadium during most of Friday evening's game, but it was the Macon County High football team that ended up raining on Livingston Academy's senior-night celebration.

The Tiger defense made a pair of fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter to preserve a 27-21 victory over the Wildcats, allowing Macon County to finish second in Region 3-4A and host a playoff game on Friday.

Livingston Academy (5-5 overall, 2-2 in 3-4A) had won the last four games in the series, and the Tigers collected their first victory at Livingston since a 34-24 victory in 2010.

Macon County (5-5, 3-1) forced two turnovers and also benefited from a pair of poor punt snaps by the Wildcats.

"They gave us a couple of breaks early, and in all reality, we gave them a couple of breaks late," Macon County head coach Kyle Shoulders said. "I felt like one thing our guys have done all year is continue to play to the last whistle."

The Tigers took the lead for good with 6:02 to play in the third quarter when senior Chris Oliver caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Ethan Jenkins on a halfback pass. Oliver intercepted a Livingston Academy pass one play earlier to set the Tigers up with good field position.

Junior quarterback Jon Mark Gammons returned to the lineup after missing most of the previous game with a foot injury and scored on a pair of quarterback sneaks -- a 1-yard run in the first quarter and a 2-yard push in the second stanza.

"It's been really rough this week," Gammons said. "I've had to ice my foot and go through the process of healing it, and it's really helped out. There were some times where it was hurting me. To be able to play a week after I got hurt ... it's a miracle. I'm blessed."

Oliver added, "Our team has been working for this all week. Gammons stepped up even though he was injured, and he played well for us."

Both of Gammons' scores came as a result of those bad punt snaps that set the Tigers up inside the Wildcats' 20-yard line each time.

Macon County's defense also contributed to the scoring in the second quarter. Sophomore Landon Whittemore's hit on Livingston Academy junior quarterback Will McDonald forced a fumble that sophomore Logan Whittemore scooped up and ran back 44 yards for a touchdown with 36 seconds remaining in the first half.

"I was worried about picking it up, because there was so much mud," Logan Whittmore said. "I picked that thing up and took off, and I was like, 'Oh my God, they're going to catch me.' I thought my knees were going to give out, and they nearly got me."

Livingston Academy led 21-19 at halftime, but the Wildcats were stifled by the Tiger defense in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Macon County's defenders came up with a fourth-down stop on the 17th play of a Livingston Academy drive.

The Tigers gave the ball back two plays later after a fumbled handoff, but the Tiger defense stonewalled the Wildcats again on fourth down with 1:55 to play, allowing Macon County to kneel and run out the clock.

"It's huge ... it's a team effort, not any one individual," Gammons said. "It's about a whole team, and that's what happened here tonight. The defense really stepped up when we needed them to, and it came out perfect for us."

The Tigers will host Nolensville in the first round next week after the Knights came up with a 21-17 victory over Marshall County to finish third in Region 4-4A. Livingston Academy will have to travel to Tullahoma, the second-place finisher in Region 4-4A.

"I'm exceptionally proud of our guys," Shoulders said. "I don't know if anybody outside of our fieldhouse would have gave us much of a chance in multiple games in this last run."

Macon County|6|13|8|0 – 27

Livingston Academy |14|7|0|0 – 21

LA – Wesley Smith 43 pass from Will McDonald. Tee Beaty kick. MC – Jon Mark Gammons 1 run. Kick failed. LA – Mitchell Ayers 14 run. Beaty kick. MC – Gammons 2 run. Run failed. LA – Smith 16 pass from McDonald. Beaty kick. MC – Logan Whittemore 44 fumble return. Cameron Houston kick. MC – Chris Oliver 34 pass from Ethan Jenkins. Gammons to Jenkins.

 

|MC|LA

First downs|7|14

Rushes-Yards|33-95|35-73

Comp-Att-Ints|3-11-1|15-27-1

Passing Yards|46|148

Fumbles-Lost|2-2|3-1

Punts-Avg.|5-34.6|3-39

Penalties-Yards|5-35|6-54

RUSHING

Macon County – Ethan Jenkins 6-39, Isaac Belton 7-26, Noah Likens 3-13, Branson Henry 5-13, Logan Whittemore 3-7, Jon Mark Gammons 9-(-3). 

Livingston Academy – Mitchell Ayers 14-111, Brody Johnson 3-14, Nate Neeley 5-9, Will McDonald 11-(-5), Joseph Dees 2-(-56).

PASSING

Macon County – Ethan Jenkins 1-1-0-34, Jon Mark Gammons 2-10-1-12.

Livingston Academy – Will McDonald 15-27-1-148.

RECEIVING

Macon County – Chris Oliver 1-34, Ethan Jenkins 2-12.

Livingston Academy – Wesley Smith 3-67, Aubry Hollars 5-29, Brody Johnson 3-28, Mitchell Ayers 3-24, Nate Neeley 1-0.