Photo/Zac Chamblee

Collins’ Markell McLaurin made his presence felt early, often and everywhere Friday night. Most notably, the wide receiver lined up under center for the Tigers, filling in for their usual starting quarterback and his brother, Hershey, who was dealing with minor bumps and bruises, according to coach Eric Booth. 

Booth says he made the decision to roll with Markell McLaurin the Saturday after their last game. Despite it being McLaurin’s first start at quarterback this season and it coming in the first round of the playoffs, the third-year coach remained confident in his choice of the senior, who wears No. 2 for the Tigers. 

“I started No. 2 tonight, and No. 2 can bring a lot to the table,” Booth said. 

To watch Eric Booth’s complete postgame interview, click on the following link: https://youtu.be/9kx9GpQuuv0

In the first half alone, McLaurin ran for three touchdowns and returned a punt for another. One of his scores came after he recovered a fumble on defense. He even had one of his punts downed inside the 20-yard line in the third quarter. Behind the all-around play of McLaurin, Collins cruised past Enterprise, 34-6, in their first round Class 2A playoff matchup. 

“He [McLaurin] is just an athlete,” Booth said. “He puts a lot on defenses’ minds. Ain’t nobody seen him all year long [at quarterback], so I decided to bring him out for the playoffs and see how he looked under center.

“Offensively, we ran the ball good, and the defense played good. Like I always tell the kids, our defense is our key. Our defense will help us win the championship, and the offense just sells tickets.”

Cyril Graves highlighted the defensive effort and rounded out Collins’ scoring with a pick-six in Friday’s first quarter. The Tigers scored all 34 of their points in the first half and put the game in cruise control in the second. 

Enterprise scored their only points late in the fourth quarter off a touchdown run from Zach Kyle. Utilizing their Wing-T offense, the Bulldogs had some early success on the ground as well, driving into the red zone on the game’s first possession. The Tigers managed to buckle down defensively on the drive and force a turnover on downs to get things rolling their way early. 

“They [Enterprise] run a great Wing-T, and they run it to the key,” Booth said. “I told the kids they would run it all night long until we stop it. They were running the ball good, and then we had two big stops back-to-back. That’s what changed the game.”

Booth’s Tigers improved to 10-1 with the win and extended their winning streak to nine games. They will travel to Madison St. Joe in search of a 10th straight win next Friday night in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

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