Finney, Indians run past Greenville

Published 11:48 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

Wetumpka running back Anthony Finney scored three touchdowns as the Indians defeated the Tigers 24-7 in the season opener for both teams on Friday night.

The win by the Indians spoiled Earnest Hill’s debut as head coach for Greenville, despite a hard effort by the Tigers’ defense. Wetumpka led just 2-0 at halftime, earning a safety on Greenville’s first possession of the game when a high snap sailed over Kent Riley’s head, forcing the junior quarterback to throw the ball out of the endzone.

Greenville’s defense, bolstered by the return of linebacker Brian Smith, held the Indians’ offense in check the first half. Smith and free safety Deandre Savage each picked off passes by quarterback Kevin Lacey and Terrance Owens recovered a fumble, all three turnovers stopping potential scoring drives by Wetumpka.

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Offensively, though, the Tigers found little success themselves.

Riley ran 44 yards late in the first quarter to the Indians’ 13-yard line, but a holding call ended the threat. Ozell Carter’s 32-yard field goal attempt failed with 1:42 left in the first.

On the Indians’ next possession, Owens fell on a loose ball, giving Greenville good field position at the Wetumpka 28-yard line. Riley gained seven yards, but an illegal procedure forced the Tigers to try and convert a fourth down with eight yards to go. Riley came up short on a running play.

Wetumpka turned to Finney in a brutal third quarter for the Tigers’ defense. Greenville’s offense was ineffectual in the quarter, running a total of six plays, as Finney gutted the Tigers’ front seven for touchdown runs of two and 11 yards, the latter coming after Greenville’s special teams failed to cover the ball on a kickoff.

The Tigers were able to get on the board when Owens stepped in front of a screen pass for an interception. The defensive lineman returned the ball to the 10-yard line where Riley scored on a two-yard touchdown run a few plays later.

Finney added his final touchdown, on a five-yard run, with 59 seconds left in the game.

Greenville (0-1, 0-0) opens Class 5A, Region 3 play next week at Central-Tuscaloosa. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.