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GHS to face top Class 5A threat

GHS seniors Sir Jalen Scott (left) and Brandon Simmons (right) put their pride on the line this Friday as the Greenville Tigers host one of the most dominant teams in the state, the Carroll Eagles.

GHS seniors Sir Jalen Scott (left) and Brandon Simmons (right) put their pride on the line this Friday as the Greenville Tigers host one of the most dominant teams in the state, the Carroll Eagles.

The Greenville Tigers are out of playoff contention, but there’s still plenty to fight for, according to head football coach Josh McLendon.

The Tigers’ fate was decided in a nail-biter with the Booker T. Washington Golden Eagles last Friday, in which the Tigers and Golden Eagles traded scores until the very end.

What began as a comfortable lead at the half for Greenville faded into a back-and-forth battle for the lead in the second half.

“Right before halftime, we were up 23-12 and looking to score, and we didn’t capitalize on our opportunity right before the half,” McLendon said. “And on the next play, they went about 75 yards and scored. 

“We were still up at halftime, but I felt like they got the momentum back, and then they came out in the second half with the ball and went down and scored to take the lead.  We took the lead back, and it was back and forth in the second half. They got the lead, and we had a chance to tie it up or maybe win the game toward the end, and we just couldn’t get it done.  We played good on offense, but defensively we just couldn’t slow them down.”

But it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Tigers as Greenville moves on from a drastically-improved former opponent to possibly the Class 5A team to beat in Carroll.

With four shutouts, several convincing wins over strong opponents and zero losses recorded this season, McLendon said that the Tigers would have a tough time dethroning a Carroll team who hasn’t been scored on since September.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the state, from what I can tell,” McLendon said.

“And just by what they’re doing in terms of scoring on offense and what they give up on defense, they’re probably one of the top three teams in the state, no doubt.”

With the playoff picture being what it is, McLendon said that the Tigers’ motivation would have to lie elsewhere Friday night.  But he also said that it would arguably come from an even more important place.

“You’re playing for pride in your program, and you’re playing because you don’t give up at anything you do,” McLendon said. “You’ve got to finish what you start and you’ve got to continue to fight and strive to get better.  The goals and expectations are still the same. 

“Obviously, we didn’t have the outcome that we wanted this season, but when things are tough you don’t just lay down.  Just keep fighting and playing and you’ll be better for it in the long run.  It might not be this week or next week, but down the road it’ll make you a better person.”

The Tigers host the visiting Carroll Eagles Friday night, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.