Ensworth ends five-year losing streak to MBA with 17-3 victory

Ensworth ends five-year losing streak to MBA with 17-3 victory

A win over MBA is something that no Ensworth player has been able to say they’ve been able to enjoy in a long time. Nearby foes, Ensworth hadn’t beaten the Big Red since 2017 and they hadn’t beaten them at home since 2016.

Both of those streaks came to an end Friday night.

Behind a dominant defensive performance that saw the Tigers force and recover three fumbles, Ensworth picked up the 17-3 victory.

“This just feels great,” Ensworth junior defensive lineman Ethan Utley said. “Ask anyone in the Ensworth community, they know that this is the game. No matter what happens, you want to beat MBA and that’s what we did.

…our goal at the beginning of the season was to beat MBA and we accomplished that. We wanted to put up more points, but they didn’t score one touchdown. Our defense did our job.”

The Tigers defense set the tone early on. After both teams punted on their opening drives, MBA had the ball deep in its own territory. On what looked like a play that would result in a five-yard gain for the Big Red, Ensworth sophomore Andrew Hogan instead ripped the ball away from the MBA back and gave the Tigers the ball within striking distance of the end zone.

Ensworth quarterback Max Holtzclaw immediately made the most of that turnover as he connected with Jaren Sensabaugh on the very next play for a 26-yard touchdown. The Tigers then doubled their lead almost immediately as their defense forced another fumble. On this fumble though, Michigan linebacker commit Mason Curtis scooped it up and scored from 27 yards out.

Despite those early miscues, MBA still had plenty of opportunities to strike back. The Big Red drove deep into Ensworth territory five times, only coming away with three points in those trips. Aside from the drive that ended in a field goal, Ensworth’s defense got fourth down stops on the four others.

“Being strong defensively is always important,” Curtis said. “If you can hold your rival to three points, you’re going to win that game most of the time. This is possibly my last time playing them so win like we did just feels good.”

Tigers far from a finished product

Ensworth coach Roc Batten was right in the mix celebrating with his players and coaches Friday night. He’ll also be one of the first people who looks at the game film from the night immediately to break it down and make his team better,.

As good as the Tigers were defensively against MBA, they were far from perfect in the win.

Offensively, much of the night was an offensive struggle for the Tigers outside of the first-quarter touchdown connection.

They only had two other drives where they drove deep into MBA territory. The first came at the end of the first half as that drive resulted in a missed field goal. In the closing minutes of the game the Tigers once against drove deep into MBA territory but converted on that field goal attempt.

Penalties were also a major problem for the Tigers who had several drives upended by a plethora of yellow flags.

Even with those flags and offensive struggles, Batten couldn’t help but be proud of the result his group came away with in Week 2.

“This is a great building block and something we can build of off each week,” Batten said. “This is special so we’ll celebrate tonight and then break down the field. The crazy thing is that we left a lot of things out there we can improve on, especially the penalties.

…We have to clean those up in a major way and we will get those cleaned up. Regardless of that, I’m still proud of this group and extremely proud of them and our coaching staff tonight.”


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