Tigers regroup for Central-Tuscaloosa

Published 4:44 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

Despite the Greenville Tigers 28-20 loss to Wetumpka on Friday night in the season opener, head coach Ben Blackmon left the field feeling good about his team’s chances to defend its regional title this season.

“I still, honestly, in my mind, believe we can compete and make a run,” said Blackmon.

The fourth-year GHS head coach had reason for optimism. After falling down 20-6 in the fourth quarter, Greenville fought back to pull within a touchdown on Patrick Bedgood’s five-yard touchdown run, but Wetumpka scored again to seal the victory in the final minutes.

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Greenville opens Class 5A, Region 3 play this week, hosting Central-Tuscaloosa at Tiger Stadium. The Falcons won a Class 4A state championship in 2007, going 15-0. The team followed that with a 9-2 record, but went 1-8 in 2009 and head coach Melvin Pete resigned in January after he was placed on administrative leave.

Things haven’t started well this season for Central, which dropped a 46-0 decision to Linden last Friday night.

Linden is a Class 1A program.

The Tigers, though, remain focused on themselves.

Blackmon said the important thing is for the Tigers to keep working in practice to get better. He said he likes the players’ attitude.

“We had a better second half this week than we did last week,” said Blackmon after Friday’s game. Greenville had previously lost to Opelika 34-6 in a preseason Jamboree at Cramton Bowl. “At halftime, I didn’t see any quit in their eyes. They had hope.”

Sophomore quarterback Kent Riley threw a pair of interceptions, but did lead the Tigers on three scoring drives. Riley scored a touchdown and passed for one also.

“He’s still learning, making mistakes, but I was proud of the way he played,” said Blackmon.

Defensively, the Tigers won’t have to prepare for an athlete the caliber of Wetumpka quarterback Jamal Golden, who torched GHS for three touchdowns.