Green Forest threatened as much as the weather but failed to find the end zone in four trips inside the red zone, including two drives that stalled inside the 5-yard line.
"It's something we have been trouble with for about a year now," Green Forest coach Jay Martin said. "When we get to the red zone we have to get more physical and we can't make mental errors. And the penalties really hurt us. We had a touchdown called back there at the end with plenty of time left."
Junior quarterback Treyton Anderson completed 22-of-34 passes for 170 yards as Green Forest found holes in the Reeds Spring defense for the duration of the game. The Tigers had a touchdown called back for a holding penalty in the waning moments of the game.
Junior wide receiver Clayton Watson led the receiving corps with five catches for 52 yards while senior wideout Gustin Byers tallied 43 yards on five receptions. Junior Cody Delozier hauled in four catches for 24 yards. The Tigers rolled up 102 yards on the ground, led by junior running back Dalton Ewing with 32 yards on eight carries. Ewing was helped off the field in the fourth quarter and was awaiting a doctor evaluation to determine his status for this week's game at Pea Ridge.
Senior defensive end and offensive guard Mario Breck went out in the first quarter and did not return. Martin cited an Achilles injury for Breck's dismissal. His status is also uncertain for this week.
"Mario (Breck) going out killed us," Martin admitted. "He is a senior defensive end and left guard on offense. So that's a big deal right there. We were able to replace him defensively with Armando Cenobio and he did a good job. And I think we still did well defensively. We are far better on defense than we have been in the past."
Martin said several players were banged up in the opener. He said the return of Breck and Ewing were crucial to Green Forest's future success.
"We have some kids going to the doctor this week and we will know more what we will be able to do (against Pea Ridge) when we hear back from that," Martin said. "We need those guys. Ewing loves playing running back. He runs the ball well. He has gotten better. But he also gives us some confidence in pass protection and blocking. We will try to have him on the field if possible. We all know he's a big part of this football team. He's played banged up before so he will play if he can."
Reeds Spring took a 6-0 lead with 5:07 left in the first half when senior running back Josh Gronvold raced 39 yards for the Wolves' first score of the game. The extra point was wide right.
Green Forest cut the deficit in half with a 38-yard field goal by Eric Perez as time expired in the half. The points were set up by a blocked punt as Ewing slipped a blocker and laid out for the block, setting up Green Forest in good field position at the Reeds Spring 25.
"We drove back into their territory and had a chance to get it in there after the big block right before the half," Martin said. "We just ran out of time. We were able to get the field goal to only be down 6-3 at halftime with momentum on our side. And we came out of the locker room and played well."
The Wolves struck again with 2:29 remaining in the third period when senior wide receiver Dallas Dodson hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Easton Flaugh. Reeds Spring went for two but the conversion attempt failed, leaving the door open for the Tigers.
"We kind of had a bust right there," Martin said. "We didn't fill our ally the way we needed to and let them hit us for that big play there. And in high school football one little thing can turn into six."
The Tigers continued to apply pressure but the Wolves wouldn't break.
Every time we had them down there we didn't capitalize. I know we had a couple of short yardage plays that we didn't make the plays.
"It's kind of an attitude," Martin said. "We have to be able to line up and say we are going to get a yard. We have a 240-pound fullback and we should be able to hand him the ball and everybody in the house know it and get a yard."
Reeds Spring improved to 2-0 with the win, the first time in 15 years the Wolves began a season with two straight victories.
"Reeds has one of the better football teams they have had in a long time," Martin said. "Coach (Brian) Moler is doing an excellent job. And them having that extra game under their belt, I think, helped them as well."
Defensively, Watson led the Tigers with six solo tackles while Byers finished with four solos and five assists. Hector Lopez finished with three solo stops and three assists.
Martin said the Tigers would learn from the early-season mistakes, recover from injuries and be prepared for another tough opponent at Pea Ridge.
"We had a big-time battle with them the last two years," he said. "We hit a big play on them and won the game two years ago on about a 65-yard pass play with 45 seconds left. Last year they had the lead late and these guys battled back and were literally stopped on fourth and goal at about the six-inch mark with just a few seconds left. They are going to be fast and strong and we are going to have to be better than we were this week."