Tigers Tango

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 2004

Winning or losing didn’t matter.

Luverne and Greenville high school’s football teams had the same agenda when they squared off Thursday night at Glenn Daniel Stadium: learn, teach and improve.

In fact, it was a good chance to see what both teams could do against an opponent other than themselves.

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&uot;It was good to see somebody other than ourselves,&uot; GHS Head Coach Alvin Briggs said. &uot;That’s what we needed. We needed to see how to make adjustments and what we need to do to improve.&uot;

But for those keeping score, Luverne claimed an 18-6 preseason win over visiting Greenville.

&uot;I asked them to do three things going into the game,&uot; Luverne Head Coach Mike Dubose said. &uot;I asked them to play hard, I asked them to play physical and I asked them to play smart. I thought we played hard and I thought we played physical, but I don’t feel like we played smart. We made too many mental mistakes in the game; illegal procedures, missed assignments and holding penalties, those types of things you can’t do and expect sustained drives or to stop drives.&uot;

Luverne drew first blood in the Tiger bout when sophomore running back Fred Hawkins danced his way into the end zone on a 21-yard sweep. The point after kick sailed left, but Luverne had a 6-0 lead over the Class 5A Tigers, which it maintained until halftime.

Following the break, Greenville got on the scoreboard when junior fullback Michael McDonald scampered 47 yards for the score. The PAT was short, but the visiting Tigers had tied the game, 6-6.

Luverne went onto to score two more touchdowns in the second half. Hawkins darted into the end zone from three yards out and backup quarterback Mason Pettus scored on a 3-yard keeper. Failed two-point conversions, followed up both scores.

Even though the home team captured the win, Dubose said winning or losing wasn’t a reflection of either teams play. Both coaches had outlined game plans of what their team needed to work on.

&uot;In a game like this, you can’t go by the points,&uot; Dubose said. &uot;Alvin and I talked a lot and he had certain things he was trying and trying to establish certain things and not necessarily trying to put points on the board, score and win. I thought our first defense played well, we had some missed tackles, but Greenville’s fullback had a lot to do with that. We had some breakdowns mentally with our first group and I expected some of that with our second group, but not with our first.&uot;

Briggs believes his Tigers showed promise as well.

&uot;We did alright,&uot; Briggs said. &uot;We’ve still got some improvements to make, but I think we’ll be fine for the season opener.&uot;

Briggs said the most valuable lesson his players learned during the preseason match up was getting through game-type situation experience.

Dubose agrees, but also said his coaching staff was looking to clear up some depth issues.

&uot;We have a pretty good understanding of who our starting guys are and what they can and can’t do,&uot; Dubose said. &uot;What we don’t know is what our backup players can and can’t do. I thought we had some second-team defensive guys play hard and play physical. Again, they didn’t play smart or within the system, but we can get that corrected. I think we found a few guys that can help us.&uot;

The Luverne Tigers will host Class 4A Opp at 7 p.m. tomorrow night as they open their season. The Greenville Tigers will be on the road this week as they take on Class 4A Daleville .