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Tigers run past Chilton County

Perhaps it was a hangover from last week’s 48-41 nail biter of a loss to Demopolis, but the Greenville Tigers had their hands full with region foe Chilton County on Friday night.

Intensity, emotion and an offense that made short work of a short field helped Chilton County jump out in front of Greenville 9-0 early courtesy of a Patrick Norman field goal and 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Taylor Hughes.

“It wasn’t any thing they were doing we hadn’t seen…they just came out and played harder than us and we didn’t match their intensity,” said GHS head coach Ben Blackmon.

It was a wake up call, said Blackmon.

The Tigers woke up.

Greenville (6-3) scored 26 unanswered points to win the game 26-16. The Tigers are assured at least a third-place finish in Class 5A, Region 3, but will have to travel in the first round.

“They (CCHS) had a lot of energy early and I knew they would,” said Blackmon. “They are a scrappy team, who had won three straight and they’ve got great coaches.”

Chilton County even recovered an onside kick at the Tigers’ 37-yard line following Hughes’ touchdown, but a holding call killed the drive before it even got started.

After a punt, Greenville went to work.

It took only three plays as Alex Phifer ran 15 yards for the score on a double reverse, cutting CCHS’s lead to 9-7 with 9:50 remaining in the second quarter.

But a big return had GHS on its heels again.

Hughes hit Gheryme Reed on a screen pass to the Tigers’ 30-yard line. A Marcus Peters sack then had the visiting Tigers facing a long fourth and nine.

Hughes came up just short after an eight-yard scramble to Greenville’s 22-yard line.

Greenville went back to its ground game.

Phifer gained 19 yards, quarterback Ryan Smith followed that with a 30-yard carry, and Cordez Peagler capped off the drive with a 29-yard scoring run behind the blocking of Sam Durbin and Derrick Bedgood.

Greenville led 13-9 at halftime.

Smith rarely attempted a pass on Friday night. Blackmon relied instead on the speed of Phifer and Peagler and the slashing running style of his junior quarterback.

“It was a wet field…we had a problem keeping the ball dry, so we just decided to run it,” said Blackmon.

Chilton County had GHS stopped cold on offense after the half, but an offside penalty allowed the Tigers to convert a fourth and one at the 33-yard line. Three straight rushing plays up the middle by Peagler set up another 15-yard scoring run by Phifer on a sweep with 7:47 left in the third quarter.

After a Greenville fumble, Chilton County tried to respond.

Hughes connected with Kendrick Woods for a 13-yard gain on a shovel pass. Hughes then scrambled for a first down to the GHS 35-yard line.

Linebacker Issaac Melton broke through to sack the CCHS quarterback and Josh Salter picked off Hughes’ pass on third down for the Tigers.

A Peagler 33-yard run allowed Smith to rush for an eight-yard touchdown for Greenville early in the fourth quarter.

Reed had an 89-yard touchdown run on a kickoff for Chilton County following the GHS score.

CCHS had a chance cut into the lead late in the fourth when Hughes hit Darnell Spear on a 58-yard pass to the Tigers’ nine-yard line, but a block in the back, plus a pair of sacks by Greenville, ended the drive.

GHS ends the regular season at home against Hillcrest-Evergreen next week.