Early lead fades as Cardinals fly past Green Forest Tigers
Coach Bill Gotto's Tigers jumped on the Farmington Cardinals early in last Friday's 1AAA league game in Green Forest, but couldn't hold a 14-0 lead and lost 27-14 to an improving Cardinal squad (3-6, 2-4).
The Tigers (5-4, 3-3) had a nice drive on their second possession in the first quarter, with fullback Neil McCutcheon punching in for the touchdown. Trey Kerby kicked the PAT and it was 7-0, Green Forest.
The defense set up the next score with 5:17 to go in the first period, when Michael Clark broke through on a Farmington punt and blocked it. Teammate Jehiel Shudy pounced on the bouncing ball and covered it for six points.
Kerby kicked true again, and the Tigers led 14-0.
Farmington got their first score, and lots of momentum, after a short drive from the 30-yard line after a Tiger fumble set them up. A questionable brief catch in the end zone with just 28 seconds left to play in the first half was called a catch, and the Cardinals were on the board.
Farmington used their short passing game the second half to move the ball, with receiver Spencer Adams snagging a 5-yard TD pass from quarterback Ryan Dennis with 8:48 on the third quarter clock that tied the score at 14-all.
"We didn't move the ball well in the second half," Coach Bill Gotto said, but Farmington did. They had 10 first downs in the second half, while Green Forest had just a few, and turned the ball over three times.
Farmington scored again at 11:53 of the fourth quarter on a 10-yard Dennis pass to Billy Johnson. The kick was good and the Cardinals led 21-14, then got one last score with 3:14 left in the game, a 5-yard pass from Dennis to Adams for the final 27-14 score.
Tiger quarterbacks Naaman Warren and Jehiel Shudy each had a pass picked off, and the Tigers lost one fumbled snap. Dennis was 15 of 28 for 144 yards passing, with four touchdowns.
TIGER GAME STATS
Rushing- McCutcheon- 15 for 73 yds; John Talent- 6 for 34 yds.
Passing- Warren- 4 for 7, 1 Int., 47 yds; Shudy- 1 of 2, 1 Int., 33 yds. Total- 5 of 9, 2 Int., 79 yds.
Receiving- Brett Conner- 1 for 18 yds; Justin Wyas- 1 for 0 yds; Talent- 1 for 33 yds; Cody Parton- 2 for 28 yds.
Tackles- (solo/assist) Wyas- 1/2; McCutcheon- 2/2; Warren- 3/1; Kerby- 1/2; Clark- 4/5, blk. punt; Adam Wade- 3/4; Dan Punchak- 4/3; Josh Fritz- 1/0; Will Babb- 3/2; Parton- 4/6; Conner- 4/0; A.J. Hale- 1/1; Shudy- 5/0; Talent- 2/1.
The picture is jumbled, as usual, with games this Friday still to determine much. However, Green Forest needs to defeat Berryville in the Super Bowl of Carroll County this Friday to assure them of a playoff spot.
Teams set for the playoffs from the 4AAA conference would appear to be Waldron in the top spot, with Ozark, Booneville, and Greenland all tied for the next three places. Friday's game will separate them.
In 1AAA, Prairie Grove is on top, with Shiloh Christian second. If no teams have a surprise loss, Berryville and Green Forest will be playing for the third and fourth seeds from their conference.
First and second seeded teams play at home, while the three and four seeds travel.