Tigers tamed

Published 12:22 am Saturday, August 28, 2010

Greenville High School head football coach Ben Blackmon knew going into Friday night’s game against Wetumpka that Jamal Golden was a special player.

The Indians quarterback did not disappoint.

Just when you thought the Tigers might some how pull of the win two minutes in the game and only down 20-14, Golden beat the entire Greenville defense to the corner on a called run play and scored from 46-yard line.

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It was third and 17.

To their credit, the Tigers kept fighting. Kent Riley ended the game with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Michael Watts, making the final score a bit more respectable, 28-20.

Blackmon saw something in Golden he hopes to see in the sophomore Riley in two years.

“He’s (Golden) electrifying,” said Blackmon. “And he’s a senior. Kent’s a sophomore. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be saying the same thing about Kent when he’s a senior.”

It was Riley who broke open a scoreless game with a 44-yard touchdown run midway into the second quarter which gave Greenville a 6-0 lead. Wetumpka had camped out in GHS territory several times prior to Riley’s run, (an interception by Demontray Warren ended one drive and Wetumpka missed a 25-yard field goal on another), but Golden and the Indians responded quickly to the Tigers score, moving quickly down the field.

On fourth down, Golden broke free from containment and scored on a 12-yard run. The extra point allowed the Indians to take a 7-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Indians clung to that lead early into the fourth quarter when running back Kentaevious Kendrick plunged across the goaline for a touchdown that put Wetumpka up 13-6.

The Tigers tried to mount a comeback, but a Riley pass intended for Jay Johnson was picked off by Kevin Lacey who returned it to the Indians’ 42-yard line. A few plays later Golden hit Wesley Labarge over the middle and the tightend bounced off a Greenville player to streak 39 yards for the touchdown. Wetumpka led 20-6 with 6:47 left in the game.

It was the second interception by Lacey of the night off Riley.

After Labarge’s touchdown, though, the Tigers did respond.

After collecting a few first downs, Riley connected with Watts for pass deep inside Wetumpka territory, then found Darius Watson on an out pattern that moved the ball to the Indians’ 5-yard line. Patrick Bedgood scored from there and Riley rolled out to find Watts again for the two-point conversion with 3:21 remaining.

The onside kick failed and the Indians took over on the Greenville side of the field. Golden gained two yards and then lost nine on a sack by the Tigers defense. The Tigers called timeout with a chance to get the ball back on a third and long play.

Unfortunately for them, Golden rolled out, saw open field, and streaked between the Tigers defense for the touchdown.

“We’ve played two very, very good football teams these past two weeks,” said Blackmon, whose Tigers faced Opelika in a 34-6 scrimmage loss last Friday night. “We were a little bit outmanned both tonight and last week.”

Both Opelika and Wetumpka are Class 6A schools.

“I was proud of the way our guys hung in there and fought,” he said. “And we’re going to get better, because they’re going to mature and learn as we go.”

Greenville opens region play next Friday night against Central-Tuscaloosa at home.