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McAdory stings Tigers in season finale

A tough McAdory defensive front made life difficult for Greenville quarterback Brandon Simmons Thursday as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Tigers 35-20.

A tough McAdory defensive front made life difficult for Greenville quarterback Brandon Simmons Thursday as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Tigers 35-20.

It was a handful of fatal stabs, rather than death by a thousand stings, that spoiled senior night for the Greenville Tigers. Big plays sealed the deal for the visiting McAdory Yellow Jackets’ 35-20 win over the Tigers.

A narrow 7-6 McAdory edge grew to a comfortable lead thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown from junior Shakeel Jordan, though Greenville’s own special teams unit would even the odds with a blocked punt scooped up and returned for a touchdown by Tyrone Ingram.

Found the end zone without their offense once again in the second half, thanks to a pick-six from cornerback Willie Langham on the Tigers’ very first down, taking it 30 yards to the end zone for a 21-12 lead.

The two nonconventional scores accounted for two-thirds of the Yellow Jackets’ productivity in the first half, but Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that McAdory was much more than a few big plays.

“They’re a good football team, and they made the plays that they needed to make,” McLendon said.

“They just made a good play on the kickoff return, and the interception return was a ball that probably should’ve been thrown in a different area, but they still made the play.

“I’m still extremely proud of our guys. They played their tails off, just like they always do. And the big thing we wanted to get across is we wanted to play and not leave anything on the field. We gave them everything we had in that second half.”

The Yellow Jackets slowed down the pace in the second half with a 70-yard march downfield that consumed nearly half of the third quarter, expanding the lead to 28-12 in the process.

The final dagger also came courtesy of Langham, this time on the offensive side of the ball, as the receiver reeled in a one-handed catch for a 70-yard touchdown.

Tiger receiver Randy Rudolph cut the lead to just two scores after receiving a bullet from Greenville quarterback Brandon Simmons on the back-corner pylon, but the deficit proved too great—and time too short—for more late-game heroics in the fourth quarter.

Several seniors played their final game of high school football Thursday night. And though the result didn’t always reflect it, McLendon said that he was thankful for the hard work his team had put in all year—especially its senior members.

“There’s so much more to it than the game of football,” McLendon said.

“These guys are going to enjoy their senior year of school, and go off to college. I know it’s not the greatest season that they wanted to have, but there are many better days ahead. I hope they look back on this and that they learned how to finish and how to fight when things are a little tougher. Hopefully this will lead them in a good direction over the next few years.”

As for the 2017 season, work begins for McLendon and the Tigers almost immediately.

“We probably start working on it Monday,” McLendon said.

“We’ve definitely got to get stronger in the weight room and do some things a little differently. But we’ve got a good, young group, and I feel confident that those guys will get things done. We just have to come back next year bigger and better, and be ready to go again.”