Tigers fall to undefeated Eagles
For three quarters, the Greenville Tigers held fast against one of the premier talents in the state.
But things quickly went awry in the fourth quarter as fatigue and an indomitable Carroll Eagles running back (No. 1, CJ Roberts) chipped away at the Tigers’ mental fortitude, propelling Carroll to its ninth consecutive victory of the season with a 35-15 win over Greenville.
But it’s a victory in which the final score could never tell the whole story, as a narrow 14-7 lead at the half promised a close, defensive struggle in the second half.
That’s nearly what Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon got from his Tigers, but a 9-minute 22-second drive all but consumed the third quarter and the Tigers’ momentum.
“That was probably the best first half of football we’ve played all year,” McLendon said. “We played with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion, and our guys played extremely hard. They came out and basically drove the length of the field for almost the entire third quarter, and scored.
“They’re a good football team; they’re undefeated for a reason. All credit goes to them, and they played a good game. But I’m extremely proud of our kids.”
The Greenville defense had its work cut out for it, thanks to a powerhouse Carroll backfield manned by running back CJ Roberts and quarterback Alex Reeves.
But the Tigers’ secondary thwarted the Eagles’ pass option, most notably with the aid of two momentum-changing interceptions from defensive back Tyrone Ingram.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Greenville offense sputtered out near midfield, resulting in a demoralizing turnover on downs on a drive that could’ve brought the Tigers to within a single score.
The Eagles capitalized on the momentum shift on a handoff to Roberts, who took the ball half the length of the field to put the proverbial nail in the Tigers’ coffin.
And though the Tigers would find the end zone in the second half, thanks to a redoubled ground effort from Sir Jalen Scott with five minutes remaining in the game, it wasn’t enough to cover the sizable deficit.
McLendon said that the fact that the Eagles’ game plan was straightforward made it no easier to stop.
“We knew coming in that’s what they were going to do,” McLendon said.
“It’s one of those things where they line up, pretty much tell you where they’re going and ask you to stop it. I thought we played and did what we needed to do in the first half. Our goal was to try to make it a game in the fourth quarter. We were close to being able to do that, but they just do a good job of doing what they do. We were in position to make some tackles and we just didn’t make them, and we got run through a couple of times.”
The Tigers face another tough threat at home in the Class 6A McAdory Yellow Jackets on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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