Phifer scores three touchdowns in Tigers’ win

Published 12:46 am Saturday, September 20, 2008

Greenville head coach Ben Blackmon asked wide receiver Alex Phifer on Friday what he wanted people to remember about his football career.

“Excitement,” Phifer replied.

The senior wide receiver lived up to those words on Friday night, burning previously unbeaten Selma High School for three touchdowns in a 37-0 GHS victory.

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Phifer hauled in scoring passes of 13 and 26 yards before turning a quarterback scramble into a 46-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

“It feels good,” said Phifer. “We started pretty slow, losing our first couple of games, but we showed up tonight. We had a good game last week and Selma was supposed to challenge us, but look up at the scoreboard. We played a good game.”

Yet the Tigers’ offense didn’t live and die by Phifer alone. Junior quarterback Ryan Smith helped spark GHS’s running game early, taking a quarterback keeper 47 yards on the offense’s first play of the game. That set up Phifer’s first score, a 13-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass from Smith.

Smith consistently found running room against the Saints and his passes were usually pinpoint accurate. He threw for three touchdowns on the night, including a 10-yard score to Kamau Simmons in the fourth quarter.

“Ryan Smith is becoming a leader,” said Blackmon. “He is taking this team on his shoulders and he played great.”

And the Tigers’ defense pitched its first shutout of the year. Three times the Saints’ offense ventured into the redzone, but was denied by Greenville.

After the Tigers’ first score, Saints receiver Jacolby Shannon caught a 41-yard pass from quarterback Keaton Speavy that set Selma up on the Tigers’ 8-yard line. Two plays later GHS linebacker Darin Mack intercepted the ball, one of two on the night for Mack.

Following Phifer’s 26-yard touchdown and with Greenville up 14-0, Selma threatened again at the Tigers’ 4-yard line in the second quarter. This time cornerback Brett Boutwell stopped the Saints cold, tackling the receiver at the one on a fourth-down play.

“Our kids laid it on the line tonight,” said Blackmon.

Tigers defensive back Lamar Gray equaled Mack’s interception count, snagging a pair of picks of his own. One, a 92-yard touchdown return, was called back because of a penalty.

The interception did set up a GHS score though, as Cordez Peagler carried the ball for 23 yards to the Saints 1-yard line then dove over for the touchdown. Greenville led 23-0 with 3:22 remaining in the third quarter.

The Tigers led 17-0 at the half as Stewart Moody added a 21-yard field goal just before the end of the second quarter.

Following Smith’s touchdown pass to Simmons, Phifer took the snaps from center. On third and long, he rolled to his left then cut through the Selma defense for the 46-yard touchdown run with 3:28 remaining in the game.

“I got a couple of key blocks from Cordez and the offensive line and just tried to make a play,” said Phifer.

The Tigers (2-2, 2-1) entertain Andalusia for homecoming next week.