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Tigers outlast Mustangs in jamboree

A host of Tigers pile on top of Mustangs wide receiver Jeremy Powers in the backfield for a loss during Greenville’s 13-7 victory over Stanhope Elmore.

A host of Tigers pile on top of Mustangs wide receiver Jeremy Powers in the backfield for a loss during Greenville’s 13-7 victory over Stanhope Elmore.

Two fledgling offenses struggled to find their way as the visiting Stanhope Elmore Mustangs challenged the Greenville Tigers on their own turf.

But it was the Tigers who found sure footing first—and more often—as a 13-point second-quarter spurt put Greenville permanently ahead of their Class 6A competition.

The opening 12 minutes were a defensive stalemate, however, as both defensive fronts made life difficult for both Greenville senior quarterback Brandon Simmons and senior Stanhope Elmore quarterback Phillip Warlick.

And though the fourth quarter of the jamboree were reserved for second-stringers, Greenville’s early decision to test sophomore quarterback Jadavion Posey paid off handsomely.

With a staunch Tiger defense setting Posey up with a short field, the agile quarterback softened the Mustangs’ defensive front with his legs before punishing the secondary in the air with a floater to 6-foot-4 receiver Malik Bunch for the game’s first touchdown.

Simmons would nearly duplicate the Tigers’ success on the ensuing drive, but the Mustangs’ defense held firm mere feet from the goal line to force a turnover on downs.

With less than two minutes left in the half and an entire field to cover, Warlick and the Mustangs’ offense still struggled to find their footing, and the resulting punt set up the Tigers with yet another short field.

A series of powerful runs from Greenville running back Jamarcus Jones set up yet another connection from Posey to Bunch for a touchdown pass nearly identical to the first, though a missed PAT left the score at 13-0 by the half.

Halftime adjustments from both teams ensured that neither the Tigers nor the Mustangs got within spitting distance of the end zone in the third quarter, though a fourth-quarter switch to second-string players injected life into the Mustangs’ saddling offense.

Sophomore running back Derrion Ashley injected life into Stanhope Elmore’s final drive, erasing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and converting on a 20-yard 3rd down.

Junior quarterback Johnny Montgomery threw a short dump pass to running back Quantarius Daniels to salvage the potential shutout and score the Mustangs’ first and only touchdown of the night with only 14 seconds remaining in the game to end it 13-7.

Greenville head coach Josh McLendon said that Thursday night’s jamboree was a positive sign for things to come.

“We took advantage of some good field position that the defense gave us, and that helped,” McLendon said.  “It’s good to get one of these types of games under our belt.

“I thought they did what we asked them to do. We wanted them to compete, we wanted them to have fun and just get out here and play hard.  And if they do those things, we’re happy about it.”

Despite the progress the Tigers have made, McLendon said that there’s still a long way to go before the team’s ready to face next week’s challenge, Beauregard.

“We’re not ready yet,” McLendon said.  “The good thing is that we don’t have to be ready right now.  We’ve got to have a good week of practice and hopefully we’ll be ready next Friday night. We’ve got some time to get our feet back under us, and we’ll go from there.”

The Tigers will host the Beauregard Hornets Friday beginning at 7 p.m.