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Three down, one to go: Tigers take on Vigor in Class 5A semifinals

A Greenville Tigers football team has not played in a semifinals game of the state playoffs in more than two decades. The 24-year drought – dating back to the 1994 championship season – will be broken tonight (Friday) when Greenville hosts Vigor for the right to play for a state title next Thursday at Auburn.

While both teams want nothing more than to come away with a victory, only one will make it through what is sure to be a physical game.

Vigor ended the regular season as the No. 2 in Class 5A, while Greenville finished as the No. 6-ranked team. The Vigor defense is the staple of this year’s team. The Wolves have given up just 15 points in the playoffs so far.

“You’re not going to find a much better defensive group than you will with Vigor,” Greenville head coach Josh McLendon said. “They’re fast, big and well coached. It’s going to be a very big challenge for us to move the ball on them. Good execution will be a must in this game.”

When looking at these two teams, a person can’t help but use the old saying, “Something’s got to give.” Greenville scored 44 points against Fairfield, 43 against Bibb County and 27 against Ramsay. The offense has been playing at a high level, while the Tigers’ defense has been stout all season long.

“Vigor is the type of team that’s only going to give you a handful of opportunities, if that,” McLendon said. “When you get an opportunity to score against them, you had better take advantage.”

Throughout the playoffs, Vigor beat Central-Tuscaloosa 45-8, Briarwood 26-0 and Demopolis 27-7. The Wolves lost only one game during the regular season to Opelika (23-22) in October.

“I’m very proud of this team for making it this far and earning the right to compete in the semifinals,” McLendon said. “As I told them last week, I want them to have fun and enjoy this moment. They’ve worked really hard to get here.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night inside Tiger Stadium. Admission is $10.

“Our players are looking forward to playing in this game in front of the home crowd,” McLendon concluded. “These seniors have been a great group to coach. I’m just really proud of them and this team as a whole.”