No. 3 Tigers win a thriller

Published 12:17 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quarterback Ryan Smith connected with wide receiver Mikwese Claybourne for a 17-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play as No. 3 Greenville High School rallied to beat Chilton County 28-21 on Friday night.

But for the bulk of the game, it was Chilton County (5-4) was giving the Tigers (9-0) all it could handle. CCHS led 21-20 with 4:42 left in the fourth quarter, taking over on offense at its own 19-yard line.

But a bad shotgun snap cost the host Tigers 14 yards and after four downs a bad punt cost them field position: Greenville’s offense took over at the Chilton County 32-yard line. A few plays, later Smith hit his fellow senior, Claybourne, for what proved to be the game winner.

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“They’re (CCHS) a good team,” said GHS head coach Ben Blackmon. “This was really the closest game we have played other than against Carver (a 28-24 win). I hope this woke our kids up and makes them understand that you’re not going to blow everyone out. I hope this helps us in the playoffs.”

The 5A state playoffs start in two weeks. Blackmon expects the four teams qualified from Region 3 (GHS, Chilton County, Demopolis, Carver) to show up.

“All the teams are good,” he said. “I expect all of them to be playing in the second round.”

CCHS head coach Brian Carter was proud of his team’s effort.

“We played a great game on both sides of the ball,” Carter said. “They (GHS) made the play at the end, and that’s what great teams do.”

Greenville took a 14-0 lead in the game before CCHS even recorded a first down. Greenville scored on two passes from Smith to Darius Watson in the first quarter.

But penalties against Greenville allowed Chilton County to move into scoring position, with quarterback Taylor Hughes scoring on a one-yard touchdown run.

The snap on the point-after try couldn’t be handled, and CCHS trailed 14-6.

CCHS tied it with 24 seconds to go in the first half by following up a two-yard Hughes touchdown run with a Hughes pass to Chris Felder.

Chilton County took its first lead, 21-14, on a 17-yard pass from Hughes to Cameron Cummings.

“We were fortunate,” said Blackmon. “We started fast and then we slacked up and allowed them to come back and play us tough. We got the ball in the second half and didn’t do anything with it. I’m just glad it didn’t cost us, but our kids kept fighting.”

Despite the win, the Tigers’ offense did take a hit when running back Patrick Bedgood went down with an ankle injury following a 25-yard run by the junior in the fourth quarter.

Blackmon said he wouldn’t speculate on the severity of the injury.

“We just don’t know right now,” he said. “It’s still being evaluated.”

Contributing: Stephen Dawkins/The Clanton Advertiser