Eufaula outpaces Greenville in second-half victory

Published 10:27 am Saturday, October 1, 2016

Greenville defensive back Bishop Riley gives chase behind Eufaula running back Jujuan Whigham during Greenville's 28-7 loss to Eufaula.

Greenville defensive back Bishop Riley gives chase behind Eufaula running back Jujuan Whigham during Greenville’s 28-7 loss to Eufaula.

A first-half battle became a second-half blowout as the Eufaula Tigers usurped the Greenville Tigers as top cats with a 28-7 win.

The loss sinks Greenville to 1-2 in region play and 1-4 overall.

The Tigers of Greenville and Eufaula were neck-and-neck for the first several possessions, however—that is, until Eufaula running back Jordan Glenn earned back yardage lost on a false start and then some to convert a long third down into a touchdown to put Eufaula up 7-0 with 8:54 remaining.

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But Greenville struck back just as quickly, thanks to a big-time catch from Brian Haynes.

Eufaula’s defense held firm with their backs to the end zone, but a quick toss to Malik Bunch on a slant route made it 7-all with only 1:19 remaining in the first.

The score would remain tied, thanks to solid defensive play from both sides, for nearly a full quarter until Eufaula running back Jujuan Whigham found daylight up the middle and burst through, untouched, for a lengthy touchdown run.

But the killing blow to Greenville’s momentum came near the top of the third quarter, when a gutsy fake punt attempt went awry.

“Our plan was to come out and we obviously needed to get some points on the board,” said Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon.

“We get the ball back and we try to fake a punt. I thought it was a good call. We had it set up, but it didn’t work out. They hit us with a big one right there and kind of turned the momentum of the game.”

Greenville quarterback Brandon Simmons took a late shot from a Eufaula lineman that removed him from the second half, though backup quarterback Jadavion Posey picked up the slack with his arms and legs on a handful of drives.

Despite the Tigers’ success in driving the ball down the field, a series of mental mistakes grew from a molehill to a mountain and prevented Greenville from ever breaching the end zone.

“We’ve just got to do a better job of getting there,” McLendon said.

“We’ve just got to go back to work, look at it and see if we’ve got to do something different. We just didn’t do a good enough of a job to win tonight, and that starts with me. But we’ll be fine. We’ve still got three region games left. It’s not a devastating loss. Obviously it hurts, but the season is not over. Our goal is still right there in front of us—we want to get to the playoffs.”

The Tigers’ remaining region opponents are Headland (0-3 in region play), Booker T. Washington (2-2) and Carroll (4-0).

Despite the challenges ahead, McLendon is optimistic about Greenville’s playoff hopes.

“We’ve just got to figure out how to win some games,” McLendon said. “I don’t know where it’s at, but we’ve got to figure out how to win some games. We’re young, and we’re still learning, but we’ll be fine.”

Greenville will host Headland Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.