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Greenville drops close contest with Carroll

Only three minutes separated the Greenville Tigers from dethroning the king of the Class 5A Region 2 hill, the Carroll Eagles.

But, with the Tigers’ backs to their own end zone, the Eagles repaid an earlier blocked punt in kind for a last-minute score to remain undefeated as Greenville fell to Caroll 14-8.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that a disproportionate number of penalties–more than two dozen compared to Carroll’s four—plagued the Tigers’ efforts all night.

One of those penalties erased a Tiger touchdown in the first half, but the rest proved just as demoralizing.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.  Our kids played extremely hard, but I felt like we just had one taken from us tonight.  I’ve never said that, but it was just unbelievable.  The officiating was just wild.”

Trailing 6-0 at the half, the Tigers blocked a Carroll punt at the top of the third quarter and scored to take an 8-6 lead.

The Tigers mounted another critical stop just two yards outside the Eagles’ end zone, forcing a turnover on downs. 

Greenville’s offense struggled to move the chains on the ensuing possession, however, leading to the blocked punt and the Carroll score.

Despite the disheartening loss, McLendon said that the scoreboard failed to reflect his team’s remarkable effort.

“I’m very disappointed, but I’m very proud of our kids and how they played,” McLendon said.

“They came out and fought from the very beginning, and I felt like it was one of the best games we’ve played on both sides of the ball.”

The Tigers have a shorter week than normal to prepare for their final regular-season challenge, the Class 6A McAdory Yellow Jackets.

“They’re always very athletic, well coached and good at what they do,” McLendon said. “They play in a tough region in the Birmingham area, so it’ll be tough.

“Its’ a short week—we play on Thursday—so our goal is to try to get over this one.  It’ll be tough.  Our kids are hurt, and I’m hurt.  But we’re resilient.  We’ll bounce back, go back to work on Sunday and try to fix some of those mistakes we made.”

The Tigers travel to McCalla to face the McAdory Yellow Jackets Thursday.