FOREMAN – The Murfreesboro Rattlers muddied the 7-2A playoff picture a little more Friday night when they upset the Foreman Gators, 62-35, and moved into a three-way tie for first place alongside the Dierks Outlaws and Mount Ida Lions.
The plot will surely thicken this Thursday night when the Outlaws (5-1, 6-3) host the Rattlers (5-1, 6-3) down in The Holler. Kick-off is set for 7:00.
The MI Lions will host the Lafayette County Cougars (3-3, 3-6)
After falling behind 13-6 in the first quarter and having starting quarterback Ryan Roberts hurt in the second, the Rattler offense turned in double-digit numbers in three straight quarters while the defense gave the run-heavy Gators limited access to the endzone.
The Rattlers had 542 yards of offense. Roberts hit five passes for 59 yards before leaving the game and junior back-up QB J.C. Motley stepped in to hit seven passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns. Roberts also rushed for 59 yards and Motley added 77 on the ground.
Gavin Gardner led the Rattler rushers with 153 yards and three TDs and also caught three passes for 98 yards and another TD. Troy Stone had five catches for 97 yards and two scores. Jarrett Faulkner also had a reception for 30 yards and Motley caught two for 22 yards.
Scott Evans led the Rattler tackle chart with six solo stops with Gardner, Stone and Tyler Tomlinson making four stops each. Chris French and Cody Nolen both recovered Gator fumbles.
Foreman totaled 417 yards of offense with QB Tucker Hall hitting five passes for 67 yards and one TD and rushing for 76 yards. The majority of the Gators’ 377 rushing yards came from CJ Green (94), Kyren Batey (84) and Chase Boyd (72).
Murfreesboro hit the board first with an opening drive of 76 yards that Roberts capped with a 21-yard TD run. The two-point play failed and Foreman responded by covering 57 yards in five plays but missed the extra-point kick for a 6-6 score.
The Gators covered a Rattler fumble on the next possession and turned the mistake into a first-quarter 13-6 lead. Murfreesboro was turned back on their final possession of the first quarter as were the Gators who gave up the ball on downs.
The second quarter saw Gardner score from three yards out and Roberts ducked in for two before the Rattler defense turned the Gators out again for a 14-13 lead.
When the Rattler offense took the field next, Motley was in at QB to steer a 62-yard three-play drive and cap it with a 43-yard TD run. Gardner cleared the two-point play for a 22-13 lead.
The Gators quickly covered 54 yards in one play to cut the Rattler lead to 22-21.
Murfreesboro scored the last points of the half when Motley hit Gardner for an 88-yard TD pass. Stone pulled in the two-point pass for a 30-21 halftime lead.
The Gators pulled within one point to open the second half, but the Rattlers responded with 16 unanswered points that including TD receptions by Stone good for 41 and 16 yards and a 46-29 lead that carried into the final quarter.
The Rattlers’ fourth-quarter scoring came from two TD runs by Gardner and the Gators added six more for the 62-35 final.