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Tigers roll Jaguars

For the second consecutive week the Greenville Tigers found themselves staring at a deficit early against an overmatched opponent.

GHS head coach Ben Blackmon told his team following last week’s 26-16 tooth-and-nail contest against Chilton County that Hillcrest-Evergreen would be trying to spoil the Tigers’ final regular season game at home.

So down 8-0 in with 9:11 still to go in the first quarter, the Tigers served the Jaguars a steady diet of quarterback Ryan Smith and wide receiver Alex Phifer. Smith rushed for three touchdowns and equaled that number of touchdown passes to Phifer as the Tigers (7-3) won going away, 49-20.

Smith’s passes were pinpoint accurate – he tossed only one interception – while Phifer’s speed consistently burned Hillcrest-Evergreen (3-7).

It took only a minute for GHS to answer Hillcrest-Evergreen’s first score, covering 75 yards on just three plays. Smith hit Phifer in stride for a 53-yard scoring pass.

Lamar Gray intercepted the ball to halt the Jaguars’ next drive and Smith carried the ball for 32 yards to the Hillcrest-Evergreen 33. A Mikwese Claybourne catch and Patrick Bedgood run netted 28 yards and Smith scored his first rushing touchdown on a one-yard keeper at the goal line.

Greenville’s Darin Mack picked off another errant pass, setting up another one-yard scoring plunge by Smith. The Tigers led 21-8 at that point and Quayshawn Brown then recovered a Hillcrest-Evergreen fumble, which set up a 42-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Phifer on a screen pass play.

Gray recorded his second pick on the night – one of four total interceptions by the Tigers’ defense – with 3:41 left in the second quarter. That meant just enough time for Smith to find Phifer again, this time on a 29-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers led 35-14 at halftime.

Bedgood added an eight-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.

Smith added his third rushing touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter, as the junior quarterback found running room for 22 yards and the score.

Tijuan Robinson added an interception for GHS late in the game.

The Tigers travel next Friday night to play Briarwood Christian in the first round of the playoffs.