Tigers fend off Class 7A Alma Bryant

Published 12:07 am Saturday, September 19, 2015

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but the Greenville Tigers made the most of a lengthy trip to Irvington, Ala., in defeating the Class 7A Alma Bryant Hurricanes 20-13.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that despite a sloppy start, the Tigers fought through adversity and made key plays when they counted most.

“We didn’t play very good offensively, but we played well enough and did what we had to do to win,” McLendon said.

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“Defense played well, and we had a couple of big plays on special teams including a blocked kick. I guess it was more of an ugly win, but we did what we had to do.”

The offensive woes began early for the Tigers thanks to an interception that was returned for a touchdown that put Greenville behind 6-0.

But the Tigers recomposed themselves on the ensuing drive and answered, claiming a 7-6 lead in the process.

McLendon said that the biggest praise of the evening belonged to a stingy Greenville defense that has held opponents to just 12.5 points per game this season, as well as momentum-shifting individual effort on special teams.

“Ja’Quan Lewis blocked a kick, and we had Mark Bradley recovered a fumble and ran it back a pretty good ways,” McLendon said.  “Defense as a whole played well in key moments of the game.”

Despite the win, McLendon said that next week’s film would prove enough cause not to celebrate the 4-0 start, as there are still a number of issues to address at the season’s halfway point.

“We’ve got to just continue to focus on the little things—making sure we’re running the right routes, making the right reads and blocking the right people,” McLendon said.

“We’re going to go back and take a real good, hard look at this film and see what we need to improve on and go from there—because we’ve definitely got some improving to do.”

The Tigers will face the Class 1A Georgiana Panthers Thursday, and few coaches are as familiar with the Panthers as McLendon, thanks to two years spent down the road as McKenzie’s head coach.

As such, his advice to his players for next week’s game was simple.

“I’ll say this; they better be aware that Georgiana is one of the best teams around,” McLendon said.

“We’re going to take them very, very seriously.  We’re going to have a good week of preparation because they’re playing really well right now.  They’re probably going to be the most athletic team we’ve faced by far up until this point, so we’re going to treat this just like any other opponent.  What we’re up against is a really good team.”

The Tigers will travel to Georgiana Thursday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.