Tigers fall to 0-6

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2004

The Greenville Tigers remained just a play away from getting into the win column dropping a 28-21 heartbreaker to region foe Carroll of Ozark. The Tigers were able to move the ball on Carroll of Ozark throughout the game while the defense held its own as well. In the end however, mental mistakes and turnovers came back to haunt Greenville.

Greenville Head coach Alvin Briggs said the close loss was tough on his team.

"It's hard to lose one like this," said Briggs. "At the same time our guys played hard and never gave up. That's what we've been telling them all year. You have to keep fighting."

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The Tigers stayed in the game until the very end driving to the Carroll 18-yard line late in the fourth. But the Eagles made the big plays when it counted and held on for their second win of the season.

A fast start proved to be the difference for the Eagles. Carroll wasted no time getting on the board as the struck on their opening possession with a 39 yard run by Cameron Beard on their second offensive snap. The point after by Doug Kruze was good giving Carroll a 7-0 lead early.

The Tiger defense bolted down and turned Carroll away on their next two possessions. Midway through the second quarter the Eagles were able to chip away at the Tiger defenders and get a drive going. The drive would end with an eight yard Jason Salter touchdown run and after the PAT the Eagles held what they thought was a comfortable 14-0 lead near halftime.

With only 1:27 on the clock the Tigers moved quickly. Soon the Tigers found themselves inside the Eagle 30 and threatening. With time running down the Tigers took to the air and quarterback Andrew Hartman made it count as Devoski McMeans wrestled the ball away from two Carroll defenders for a 26 yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds in the half. The extra point failed leaving the Tigers down 14-6 at the half with momentum.

Carroll again came out strong on their first possession of the second half. The Eagles took the ball and drove 60 yards ending with a 13 yard Salter run to give the Eagles a 20-6 lead. The PAT was good again making the score 21-6.

The Tigers again answered with a five yard 72 yards drive to pull within a touchdown. Kelcius Savage set up the score with a 24-yard screen pass to the Eagle one-yard line. One play later Hartman would go over the top for the score. On the two point attempt Hartman would again find Savage in the middle of the field to make it a 21-14 game.

Again the Tigers were unable to keep the Eagle offense at bay as they hit on another big gainer which turned into a 29 yard Beard score.

Again, the PAT was good and again the Eagles had breathing room 28-14.

Neither team was able to muster another drive in the third.

However, in the fourth the Tigers began to click on both sides of the ball.

The offense drove all over the field while the defense constantly held the Eagles behind the line for losses.

The Tigers converted their first drive of the quarter into points as Rashad Knight found the endzone on a slashing 11-yard touchdown run to make it a 28-20 game. The PAT by McMeans was good bringing the Tigers to within 28-21.

With eight minutes to go in the game it looked as if the Tigers would be able to tie the game. Greenville gained yards in chunks on the ground driving all the way to the Carroll 18 with five minutes to go.

Unfortunately, the Carroll defense would come up with their biggest play of the night when Ernesto Cortez stepped in front of a Tiger pass in the endzone for the interception and likely the game winning play.

From there the Eagles controlled the tempo and the rest of the game.

While the Tigers played possibly their best all around game of the year the first win was still able to narrowly escape them.

Briggs said his team would have to roll with the punches and gut it out to finally find success.

"We've just got to keep fighting," said Briggs. "They deserved to win tonight. We just have to keep after it."

The Tigers will try to turn things around next week with a road trip to Booker T. Washington. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.