No. 3 Aggies blast Tigers

Published 11:57 pm Friday, September 14, 2012

The third week of high school football marked the Greenville Tigers’ opportunity to properly welcome the No. 3-ranked Jackson Aggies to Class 5A, but it was the Aggies that did most of the greeting in a definitive 31-10 win over the Tigers.

The Tigers set the tone defensively on the Aggies’ first drive with an early interception and a great return from Terrail Snipes that ignited the sideline.

However, the Tigers were unable to use that energy as the Aggies matched their defensive aggression and forced a quick punt.

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Many more defensive stops would follow from both teams, resulting in a scoreless first quarter.

Things picked up significantly in the second as Jackson quarterback Matthew Jordan found an open man on a 14-yard strike for the first touchdown of the game.  A missed PAT attempt resulted in a 6-0 Jackson lead with 3:07 left in the second quarter.

A bomb to the back corner pylon from quarterback Harper Vinson to receiver Kent Riley fell incomplete, but a defensive pass interference call led to a first down for the Tigers and great field position with barely a minute to go in the half.

Ozell Carter closed the half with a successful 32-yard field goal, leaving the Tigers trailing 6-3 going into the locker room.

It was the first drive of the second half in which options began to open up offensively for the Aggies, as Jordan directed slow, methodical drives that tired out the Greenville defense.

Although the Tigers defense forced a fourth down in the red zone, a conversion led to Jordan eventually threading the needle between several black jerseys for his second touchdown pass of the night.  A failed two-point conversion left the Aggies with a 12-3 lead halfway through the third quarter.

Things got progressively worse for the Greenville offense as the Aggies’ defensive linemen left Vinson with little daylight to work with, leading to a punt deep within their own territory.

The Aggies returned the punt to within the Tigers’ 5-yard line, resulting in a quick run-in touchdown on the first play from scrimmage that put Jackson up 18-3 with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter.

Receiver Matthew Craig eventually found a seam down the sideline after an impressive front flip into the end zone gave Greenville its first touchdown of the night late in the fourth, but the shot of adrenaline came far too late to be effective for the Tigers.

“We just played a great ball club that knows how to play for 48 minutes, and we’re still trying to get to that point,” said second-year head coach Earnest Hill. “The bottom line is that we’ve just got to continue to work.”

Hill said he saw this game as a measuring stick for what his team needs to do to prepare for the playoffs.

“We certainly hope to see them again in the second or third round,” Hill said.