Utley's pitch

Quarterback Hunter Utley (right) makes the pitch to running back Charvell McCallister (left) during their blowout win over Marshall County.

MURRAY — Last week in the Murray High Tiger football game against the Union County Braves, Murray High ended the night victorious 21-7, bringing their season record to 3-1. However, in that same game, the Tigers realized that an issue that has been hindering Murray High since the first game of the season is even more critical than they may have thought: their penalty issue. 

The Tigers finished the game against the Braves with a whopping 20 penalties. Luckily, the Tigers were able to put together some big plays to make up for the lost yards against Union, but it might be a challenge to do the same against Trigg County this Friday night. The Wildcat football team is currently 4-0. This week, the Tigers may have the opportunity to put an end to Trigg’s undefeated record — if they find a way to get a control on their penalties. 

Tigers head coach Keith Hodge said, “It’s obvious that we need to cut down on the mental penalties we are getting. At this point in the season, we have to be able to handle some frustrations that are a part of the game. We are responding well though, once something happens. We’ve come a long way in that area. The biggest thing is to practice better habits. The things we see great and bad on Friday nights are happening in practice. The entire group has to understand if it’s cleaned up in practice, the results show on Fridays.”

The next biggest challenge for the Tigers on Friday will be finding a way to stifle 75% of the Wildcat’s offense, which just so happens to come from a single player — Cam Jordon, a Navy commit and the Trigg County quarterback.

Through the first three games of the season, Jordon accounted for 15 touchdowns, eight rushing and seven passing touchdowns. Of the team’s 985 yards of total offense through the first three games, Jordon has accounted for all but 390 yards. Jordon has 293 yards rushing, and he has had twice as many rushing attempts as the No. 2 running back on the team. 

“He makes them click,” Hodge said. “He’s accounting for 75% of their offense right now, so it’s important to limit him the best we can. Another challenge is how well they are playing. We feel like they have a ton of things going for them, and they just don’t make a lot of mistakes. So, we have to slow down what they are doing well and put the pressure on them.”

Putting pressure on the opposing team is something Hodge feels like his team did well last week against Union County.

Winning Friday would make a huge statement for the Tigers, and victory is not out of reach. In fact, the Tigers are currently ranked seventh in the state in Class 2A. Meanwhile, Trigg totes in a ranking of eighth in Class 3A.

“Our plan is to do what we do and do it better each time,” Hodge said. “We know they’ll take away some things they’ve seen us do well, so we’ve worked hard on some areas we think could be a strength for us in this game. Trigg has several weapons we believe they’ll go to, but again, we have to slow down their quarterback. We like our plans on both sides of the ball but playing physical sound football is always the difference.”

It will be the second road game of the year for the Tigers as they head to Trigg County. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night.

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