Good Fellows bad for Tigers as season ends
Nashville's Samuel Fellows scored three touchdowns, and Scrapper quarterback A.J. Whitmore ran for 122 yards and passed for 149 more last Friday as Class AAA's preseason top team ended Green Forest's dream season 21-14 after three big defensive stands turned the visiting Tigers back.
"It was a great ball game, a playoff caliber game, a battle between a big 3A school and a small 3A school," Tiger coach Bill Gotto said on Monday. "Either team could have won, but we had some penalties we didn't need.
"It was our 28 against their 75," Coach said. "We played about 20 people, while theirs just went one way. Both teams were flying around."
The Tigers finished a school-record best 12-1, and made it to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history before falling to the Nashville Scrappers (13-0).
"We had a lot of support, lots of fans, nearly as many as they had," Coach Gotto said. "That was great."
It didn't take Green Forest long to send a message to the Scrappers. After a Nashville fumble in the first quarter, Tiger quarterback C.J. Matthews read the option and sprinted 66 yards to paydirt on the team's third play from scrimmage with 8:49 on the clock.
Trey Kerby added the extra point, and the Tigers led a surprised Scrapper squad 7-0.
"C.J. read the option right and it sprung him through a huge hole," Coach Gotto said.
Matthews finished the night with 157 yards on 18 carries, a rushing touchdown, and a 27 yard pass for six to teammate Tim Ellison on fourth-and- 7.
Nashville answered back after swapping punts with the Tigers, with Fellows scoring at 2:21 of the first quarter. The PAT kick missed, making it 7-6, but the Scrappers came back on their next possession, driving 77 yards for another Fellows touchdown.
The Scrappers went for two and Fellows got it with 9:21 remaining in the first half, putting them up 14-7, then a big defensive stand may have been the turning point of the game.
The Tigers drove to the Nashville four on their next possession, but faced a fourth down. Matthews kept, stretched, and appeared to have enough for a first at the one, but the officials marked the ball short and a crucial scoring attempt failed.
"We drove and had a fourth-and-2 inside the five," Coach Gotto said. "We went for it, and were just short. It took a lot of effort to get there."
Green Forest did get on the scoreboard again in the third quarter. On fourth-and-7, Matthews scrambled, then found Ellison in the end zone for six on a 17-yard pass play, and after Kerby's kick it was tied once again at 14-14.
Then, after a long Nashville drive aided by Tiger penalties, Fellows scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to go up 21-14.
"They pounded it in with a power running set instead of spread or passing," Coach Gotto said.
The Tigers drove twice in the fourth, but the Scrappers' defense held both times on fourth down, and Green Forest's dream season ended when Orlandis Trimble intercepted Matthews with less than a minute to play.
1st Downs-- GF- 11; NV- 27
Rushing- GF- 45 for 245 yds.; NV- 35 for 179 yds.
Passing- GF- 2 of 6 for 26 yds., 1 Int.; NV- 12 for 25 for 149 yds.
Fumbles- GF- 0-0; NV- 1-1
Penalties- GF- 6 for 45 yds.; NV- 4 for 40 yds.
Passing- GF- Matthews- 2/6, 26 yds., 1 Int.; NV- Whitmore- 12/25, 149 yds.
Rushing- GF- Matthews- 18 for 157 yds.; Ellison- 5 for 17 yds.; Neil McCutcheon- 12 for 42 yds.; Naaman Warren- 8 for 39 yds.
Receiving- GF- Ellison- 2 for 25 yds.; NV- Arnold- 4 for 56; Benson- 3 for 44; Winton- 1 for 18; Scott- 2 for 12; Wilson- 1 for 3.