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Tigers should hold their heads high

Tiger Stadium was electric last Friday night as thousands of fans and supporters packed the bleachers and end zones as Greenville High School played host to the Vigor Wolves in a Class 5A playoff battle on the gridiron.

Even though the Tigers came up on the losing end of the scoreboard, head coach Josh McLendon, his staff and the players have nothing to hang their heads about.

Sure, the Tigers will not be competing for the championship during the Super 7 in Auburn this week, but they proved to the entire state that they are one of the Top 4 teams in their respective classification. Not only was this confirmed by the fact GHS advanced to the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state semifinals, but also by the resiliency the team showed throughout the season – winning games many around the state believed they should have lost and battling through sidelining injuries and weekly nicks and bruises.

Defensively, the Tigers shined all season. With players like senior linebacker Sawyer Hennis and senior nose guard Malik Porterfield, as well as senior safety Tyland Simpson and sophomore defensive back Kedarius Aaron anchoring the tough-as-nails defense, watching opposing offenses attempting to gain positive yardage, much less score, proved entertaining. It wasn’t often that the opposition got the best of the Tigers’ D.

In all, Greenville forced more than three dozen turnovers in 2018 – 40 to be exact. That’s an average of 2.85 turnovers per game. In high school football, that’s nearly unheard of. Besides helping lead the Tigers to several big wins over stiff competition, the defense should hang their cleats on that stat. Amazing, to say the least.

However, don’t count out the Tigers’ explosive offense. Oftentimes, as the defense was shutting out opposing offenses, the team’s skilled players were putting on a show of their own on the other side of the pigskin. Football is a game of inches, however, there were several times this season it seemed like Greenville’s offense took miles with big play after big play.

Speaking of miles, there are 1,760 yards in a mile and senior quarterback Javion Posey threw well over a mile this season. That’s the equivalent of throwing passes from Tiger Stadium all the way to the Butler County Courthouse and then some. Final numbers are still being tallied, however, coaches are confident that the senior trigger puller’s passing statistics will near 2,000 yards. That’s not including the countless yards Posey picked up with his legs on the ground.

With visits from several well-known Division 1 college coaches representing high-profile colleges just last week, Posey’s future is looking bright. We can’t wait until the first Wednesday in February 2019 to find out where he signs on National Signing Day. His days on the gridiron creating big plays are not over.

Nonetheless, Posey couldn’t have succeeded without the teammates surrounding him, which proved to be stars on the gridiron as well. Senior Arick Boggan at running back churned up big gains on the ground, while classmates Jabez Sims and Jarvis Simpson at receiver made huge catches game after game throughout the season to not only boost their stats, but help pad Posey’s as well. Senior Bishop Riley added a spark on both sides of the football, playing both ways for the Tigers, as well as showing off his speed as a return man.

Overall, Greenville football team had a superb season. Besides capturing the state title, the team accomplished the many goals all sports teams strive for – a winning record, a conference title, a berth in the state playoffs and a winning record in the playoffs. The Tigers finished the season 11-3 overall, claimed the Class 5A, Region 2 title with an undefeated 6-0 record, advanced to the fourth round or semifinals of the playoffs and finished 3-1 in postseason play. Not too shabby if you ask me.

Today, only five days removed from the 38-16 loss to Vigor, the players on the 2018 Greenville High School Tiger football team may still be hanging their heads, the coaching staff may be second guessing this play or that play and fans could still be pointing fingers, but the memories that were made this season will last a lifetime. To this day, I still remember the many teams I played on in every sport at every level. The names of the players, certain plays and the highs and lows of each season are what helped shape me today and I recall them often.

With that said, lift your heads high and be proud of your accomplishments. Tune out the naysayers and help lift your teammates up as you all continue to build bonds that will withstand time and will last a lifetime.

Take a bow Tigers – you deserve it.