Chris Brooks/For the Times Macon County High junior Hunter Herron cuts upfield as Nolensville senior Tim Coutras (8) closes in for the tackle. Herron rushed for 13 yards in the Tigers’ 47-7 loss at Nolensville.

Chris Brooks/For the Times

Macon County High junior Hunter Herron cuts upfield as Nolensville senior Tim Coutras (8) closes in for the tackle. Herron rushed for 13 yards in the Tigers’ 47-7 loss at Nolensville.

NOLENSVILLE - For almost the entire first quarter, the Macon County High football team had momentum in its corner during its first-round playoff game at Nolensville.

Then, a Mr. Football semifinalist asserted himself and took the game over.

The Tigers were unable to contain Tim Coutras when he touched the football as the Knights' senior standout scored four touchdowns on five touches as Nolensville handed Macon County a 47-7 loss on Friday, ending the Tigers' season.

"We knew the cards were stacked against us before coming in tonight," Macon County head coach Kyle Shoulders said. "We got a little taste of them last year. But I felt our guys didn't back down. They played hard throughout the game, and we had some positive plays."

Not only did Coutras do the Tigers in, but Macon County (5-6) didn't help itself with mistakes. An untimely false-start penalty short-circuited the Tigers' first drive inside the Knights' 10 yard line, and a missed field goal kept points off the board. The Tigers also committed five turnovers, four of which turned into Knight touchdowns.

That first series - a 14-play, 73-yard march that ate up 6:43 of the opening quarter - came after Nolensville's Luke Jenkins missed a 37-yard field goal on the game's first drive.

Macon County senior quarter Jon Mark Gammons found junior Landon Whittemore for a 24-yard gain on third-and-12 play to extend the drive.

"We had a big stop in the red zone … we drive it 80 yards and get down in scoring range and make a couple of mental mistakes that put us in a bad situation," Shoulders said. "We weren't able to stick it in (the end zone) there. I'd be anxious to see what it would have been had we were able to score."

After senior Ryan Underwood's 27-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right, the Knights cashed in on their reprieve.

Coutras' first touch came on a jet sweep, and he raced 50 yards to paydirt with three seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Three plays later, the Knights extended their lead when Colton Dobson intercepted a Gammons pass and returned it 33 yards to give Nolensville a 13-0 lead. The Knights attempted a two-point conversion and were stopped.

The Tigers turned the ball over on the next series as well, with Louis Kondolios grabbing the first of his two interceptions. Four plays later, senior Ryder Galardi hit Coutras in the right side of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown.

Things continued to snowball for the Tigers as Galardi connected with Samson Johnson for a catch-and-run score covering 58 yards. Nolensville extended its lead to 27-0 with the touchdown, and then, Coutras collected an interception four plays later and turned it into a 61-yard return for another Knight touchdown.

"Defensively, when (Nolensville) got their guys in space, it was just hard for us to make a tackle on them," Shoulders said[CB1] ."

Nolensville took a 34-0 lead into halftime.

Macon County's offense continued to grind, leaning on senior Isaac Belton after junior Ethan Jenkins left the game with an injury and did not return.

Belton finished with 163 yards on 26 carries and accounted for the Tigers' lone score when he found the end zone from 14 yards away on a fourth-and-4 play in the third quarter. That capped a seven-play, 70-yard drive in which Belton had six of the seven carries.

Macon County tried an onside kick, but the Knights recovered it. Coutras struck again moments later. Galardi found him for a 58-yard gain to the Tigers' 1 yard line before Coutras ran it in from there on a direct snap.

Nine seconds later, Nolensville put up the final points of the contest when Ryan Pistulka scooped up a fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers had one more chance to score as Gammons hit senior Cameron Mercer for a 51-yard gain as time was winding down, but the clock ran out before Macon County could take another shot at the end zone.

Macon County outgained Nolensville in total yardage (342-296), but the Knights made their touches count, averaging 11.4 yards per play on just 26 snaps.

Belton and junior Austin Robinson made six tackles each for the Tigers.

Twelve graduating seniors played their final game in Macon County uniforms - Mercer, Gammons, Belton, Underwood, Brady Henry, Rodney Tuck, Jacob Phelps, Levi Borders, Josh Howell, Tyson Dyer, Hunter Thurman and Brady Flores.

"The amount that these young men have matured is astronomical," Shoulders said. "A lot of these guys, when we came in late in the summer, two years ago, were very inexperienced.

"They bought into what we were doing. They were very attentive and worked their tails off. Every bit of success we've had the last two years has been because of their work ethic and this senior bunch's leadership."

The Knights advance to face Livingston Academy, a 27-8 winner over Maplewood last Friday. It's a meeting of two Mr. Football semifinalists - with Coutras and Livingston quarterback Will McDonald - that the Tigers have faced over the past two weeks. Add in Forrest running back Nick McClendon - a 2A semifinalist who the Tigers faced in the preseason - and that makes three such nominees that Macon County had an up-close look at during the season.

"He's a special player … and we knew that, but we just wanted to try and maybe eliminate his touches," Shoulders said of Coutras. "We knew it was going to be their prerogative to try and get him the football early and often. The very first play, they tried to hit him deep, and it was there but just overthrown. I assumed it was going to be a showcase to try to get him Mr. Football, and he performed at the highest level for sure."

Nolensville 47, Macon County 7

MC|0 0 7 0 – 7

N|7 27 13 0 – 47

N – Tim Coutras 50 run. Luke Jenkins kick. N – Colton Dobson 33 interception return. Pass failed. N – Coutras 25 pass from Ryder Galardi. Jenkins kick. N – Samson Johnson 58 pass from Galardi. Jenkins kick. N – Coutras 62 interception return. Jenkins kick. MC – Isaac Belton 14 run. Ryan Underwood kick. N – Coutras 1 run. Jenkins kick. N – Ryan Pistulka 20 fumble return. Pass failed.

|M|NC

First downs|18|10

Rushes-Yards|53-267|14-120

Comp-Att-Ints|2-9-4Z|7-12-0

Passing yards|75|176

Fumbles-Lost|1-1|0-0

Punts-Avg.|1-26|1-36

Penalties-Yards|3-19|2-14

RUSHING

Macon County – Isaac Belton 26-163, Dylan Chupp 11-60, Jon Mark Gammons 4-17, Hunter Herron 8-13, Ethan Jenkins 3-11, Ryan Underwood 1-3.

Nolensville – Tim Coutras 2-52, Samson Johnson 3-38, Parker Price 2-17, Ryan Pistulka 3-15, Ryder Galardi 4-(-2).

PASSING

Macon County – Gammons 2-9-4 75.

Nolensville – Galardi 5-9-0 165.

RECEIVING

Macon County – Cameron Mercer 1-51, Landon Whittemore 1-24.

Nolensville – Tim Coutras 2-67, Samson Johnson 1-58, Ryan Pistulka 1-31, Gage Skipper 1-10, Parker Price 1-9.