Friday night, the Redskins traveled to Tishomingo to take on the Indians in a District 2A-8 matchup. Kingston was hoping to clean things up coming off a sloppy 20-18 win over rival Davis, while the Indians were hoping for their first win of the season after being blasted 49-0 by Lindsay in their district opener. Ultimately, the Redskins accomplished their goals, blowing out Tishomingo 56-6.
The Redskins got the ball first, and took seven plays to drive 63 yards, and junior running back A.J. McKinney took a pitch twelve yards for a TD to stake Kingston to a 6-0 lead. A flag on Tishomingo on the ensuing kickoff backed the Indians up to their own 6, and things went from bad to worse on their first offensive play, as Tishomingo senior quarterback Matt Justus tried to run on a quarterback keeper but was dropped for a loss in the end zone for a safety to give the Redskins an 8-0 lead.
The next play, Kingston junior Jarron ‘Boomer’ Morgan returned the free kick right up the middle to the Tishomingo 3. Three plays later, McKinney took another pitch to pay dirt and Kingston led 15-0 just over four minutes into the game.
Tishomingo managed to go three and out the next drive, and punted to the Redskins, and senior Tyler Blanchard returned the punt to the Tishomingo 41. Two plays later, Morgan took a jet sweep for the distance to put Kingston up 22-0.
The Indians’ problems continued, as Justus tried to air it out deep, but junior defensive back Colton Robinson picked off the errant throw and returned the pick into the end zone for an apparent touchdown, which was called back to the Tishomingo 12 for an illegal block. Four plays later, junior quarterback Jase Hayes put the points back on the board with a fourth-down pass to sophomore Grant Holmes, who stood all alone in the end zone, and Kingston extended its lead to 29-0, still in the first quarter.
On Tishomingo’s next drive, the Indians finally showed signs of life. With less than a minute left in the first quarter, Tishomingo finally picked up a first down on a pass from Justus to freshman Ein Cardenas that went to the Tishomingo 48, with less than a minute in the period. Tishomingo also crossed midfield early in the second quarter and seemed on its way to possibly contesting the game, when a jailbreak pass rush forced another errant pass from Justus that Blanchard picked off and returned for yet another Kingston TD to make the lead 36-0.
Justus’ troubles weren’t over. Tishomingo starting moving the ball on its next drive, but Justus’ rushing attempt up the middle ended when junior defensive lineman Jakey Williams ripped the ball away from him and rumbled into the end zone to make it 42-0 Kingston with over 8 minutes left in the half. Another Tishomingo punt, and a pounding Kingston drive which ended with Hayes taking a quarterback keeper for a 22-yard touchdown made it 48-0 at half.
In the second half, Kingston put in the reserves, and still dominated the game. Kingston scored another touchdown in the third quarter when freshman Devin Tipton ran it in from 23 yards out, and then Tishomingo gave up another safety on the ensuing kickoff when the Indians returned the kick into their own end zone. Tishomingo would end the shutout with less than two minutes left in the game on a two-yard run by freshman running back Chandler Aguirre, and the Redskins left town with a 56-6 victory.
Quarterback Jase Hayes continued his improved play, completing 3 of his 4 pass attempts for 44 yards and two touchdowns; Hayes also contributed a touchdown on the ground with 34 yards rushing on two attempts. McKinney led the Redskins in rushing, with 66 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. Morgan led in receiving yards, with one reception for 40 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Brandon Watson and freshman Karson Daniel, both given extended playing time on defense in the second half, led the team with 7 tackles each.
Kingston head coach Tommy Bare welcomed the Redskins’ improved performance, stating that he was Apleased with the efforts by the entire team. He especially noted the reduction in turnovers and penalties and said Athe flow of the game was outstanding. He also welcomed the way he was able to play his entire roster in the second half, including the freshmen, and also avoided any injuries.
Kingston (4-1 overall, 2-0 district) remains in a four-way tie atop the district rankings with Comanche (4-1, 2-0), Dickson (2-3, 2-0) and Lindsay (4-1, 2-0). Tishomingo (0-4, 0-2) drops into a four-way tie at the bottom of the district, along with Davis (0-4, 0-2), Coalgate (0-5, 0-2) and Marietta (0-5, 0-2).
The Redskins return to Kingston for homecoming this Friday against Coalgate. The homecoming parade is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, with lineup starting at 4:00 p.m. The on-field homecoming festivities will start at 6:30 p.m., and kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Harold Bulldog Henry Field.
The Redskins clearly have worked on cleaning up their mistakes over the past week. The 16 accepted penalties in the Davis game turned into only 3 in the Tishomingo game. When you factor in the lack of turnovers when the game was in doubt (Kingston lost a single fumble on the night in the second half), this game was the cleanest Kingston has played, and showcased the type of play these Redskins are capable of. Playing games like this one will extend the Redskins’ season well into November.
That being said, you have to factor in the opponent in evaluating this performance. Tishomingo is winless for a reason, and that was readily evident Friday night. This Friday should be another valuable tune-up against what promises to be another district also-ran in a winless Coalgate squad. We’ll learn a lot about these Redskins when they play the meat of their schedule in the last three games of the regular season, at Dickson on October 25, home against Comanche on November 1, and at Lindsay on November 8. Right now, it looks like those games should decide the district title.
Strategy note: It really is hard to make good strategic decisions as a coach when your team is as thoroughly outclassed as Tishomingo was on Friday night. However, one thing that is puzzling is the eagerness of high school coaches to punt in situations where it can’t hurt to be aggressive. Halfway through the second quarter, Tishomingo faced a fourth and five on their own 43, down 42-0. The Indians elected to punt, and Kingston effectively ran out the rest of the half before scoring another touchdown. Did
the decision to punt instead of going for it change the outcome of the game? Almost certainly not. But why not go for it? How is a turnover on downs at that point going to hurt you? Tishomingo had probably already lost the game. The Indians’ only possible chance to get back into the game involved aggressive decisions like going for it. Instead, Tishomingo effectively ran up the white flag by punting.
That punting decision should be distinguished from Tishomingo’s punt halfway through the first quarter from their own 19 on fourth and seven. The Indians were only down 15-0 at that point, and a turnover on downs would put their defense in a terrible position. As it turned out, it really didn’t matter what Tishomingo did there - Kingston scored from 40 yards out two plays later - but it was sound decision making to punt in that situation, while the second quarter punt is harder to understand, other than as an automatic response to a long fourth down.