McClain's Jaydon Burns breaks through two tackles in the third quarter on Friday at Zane Trace High School, where the Tigers took on the Pioneers in week three high school football action. (HCP Photos/Ryan Applegate)
McClain's Jaydon Burns breaks through two tackles in the third quarter on Friday at Zane Trace High School, where the Tigers took on the Pioneers in week three high school football action. (HCP Photos/Ryan Applegate)
KINNIKINNICK – The McClain Tigers picked up the first victory of their young season on Friday when the Tigers scored 51 points and upset the Zane Trace Pioneers on the road with a clutch touchdown run by Jaydon Burns and a two-point conversion by Dalton Mischal with 18.5 seconds to play.

Mischal sealed the win with 13 seconds to play when he intercepted a pass near the right sideline and ran out the clock, with the scoreboard reading 51-50.

The Tigers played well offensively the entire game and either led or were tied until Zane Trace scored on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter and turned a 43-35 lead for McClain into a 50-43 advantage for the host Pioneers with 2:18 to play.

The ensuing Pioneers kickoff bounced into the end zone, and the Tigers took over at their own 20-yard line.

 


McClain’s Braden Wright and the Tigers’ offense put together a nine-play 80-yard drive over the next two minutes that included three pass plays by Wright that kept that drive alive and a hard-fought seven-yard carry by Matt Bliss that turned fourth-and-two into a first down for McClain.

McClain head coach Jake Orr-Zody reflected on the toughness that his team showed after falling behind for the first time in the game.

“We can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “At that point we needed eight points, and we knew we were going to go for two if we scored. Braden Wright, Matt Bliss and Dalton Mischal really made some fabulous plays. Jaydon Burns made a heck of a play. Guys just stepped up when we needed them, and I’m proud, I’m tickled with them. I can’t express that enough. They deserve it.”

The Tigers jumped out to an early 21-0 lead on the Pioneers with scores at 11:19 and 9:10 of the first quarter on 57- and 88-yard runs, respectively, by Wright. Mischal added the third score at the 10:58 mark of the second quarter with a 22-yard run. Braeden Bergstrom was 3-for-3 on extra point tries for the Tigers in the first half.

From there, it was all Zane Trace with scores at 8:13, 1:41 and 23.7 marks in the second quarter, but a missed extra point on the final score of the half allowed the Tigers to take a 21-20 lead into halftime.

The Pioneers fumbled on their first play of the second half, and Justin Kegley recovered the ball for McClain to give the Tigers a short field at the Zane Trace 21-yard line.

The Tigers were able to capitalize four plays later when Burns bulldozed his way into the end zone, and Bergstrom continued his perfect night kicking with a fourth point-after kick to put the Tigers up 28-20 with 10:08 to play in the third quarter.

Zane Trace refused to go down without a fight and scored a short time later on a 21-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 28 on a two-point conversion with 7:23 left in the third.

From that point on, it turned into a track meet between the teams as they traded touchdowns, with the Tigers scoring with 1:32 to play on yet another Burns touchdown run and extra point by Bergstrom. The Pioneers answered with a touchdown run of their own with 35 seconds left in the third and tied it at 35 with a point-after kick.

Burns added another short touchdown run at the 10:17 mark of the fourth quarter, and Mischal converted a two-point run to put McClain up 43-35 before the Pioneers finally found a way to stop the Tigers and scored on two consecutive plays to take a 50-43 lead and set up the game-winning drive by the Tigers.

Burns led the Tigers with four touchdowns in the game, while Wright recorded two and Mischal had one. Mischal also converted twice on two-point conversions in the fourth quarter, and Bergstrom was 5-for-5 on extra points in the game for the Tigers.

The Tigers will host the East Clinton Astros next Friday when they celebrate homecoming and will look to climb to .500 on the season by beating the Astros for the second year in a row.