(David Bell/Carroll County News)
Looking back on the first three weeks, Martin has been pleased with the effort of his squad. A couple of key injuries early in the season caused some personnel maneuvers, including starting defensive lineman Hector Lopez in last week's 21-16 setback to Berryville in the Carroll County Super Bowl.
Those losses in positions have resulted in losses on the scoreboard as the Tigers use the bye week to recover and attempt to establish a running game to go along with a solid passing attack, something that didn't happen against the Bobcats.
"We were trying to do the same thing after the half and establish the running game," Martin said after Friday's loss. "I think both coaches wanted to do the same thing and see if we could get the ground game going. With Ethan (Chapin) and his ability they were able to go ahead and accomplish that. And we obviously came up a couple of inches short a couple of times."
After jumping out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead, sparked by a circus catch by Clayton Watson that resulted in a 55-yard touchdown, the Tigers mustered only a field goal through the final three periods and managed a mere 34 total yards in the second half. This after totaling just shy of 180 in the first half.
"The first drive was a good solid drive," Martin said. "We made the plays and did what we wanted to do to start the game. Then we came back and got a defensive stop and hit Clayton on a smash route. They had it pretty well covered but he makes a great catch and takes it to the end zone."
Chapin then took over for Berryville and when the final horn sounded, his three touchdown performance and 200 rushing yards were too much for the Tigers.
"We knew he was going to get the ball a lot," Martin said. "He's their best running back and probably the most talented athlete on the team. They were able to establish the running game. We made some stops but couldn't stop him every time."
After finding a hole in the middle of the Tiger defense where he found most of his yards, Chapin solidified the win with a fourth-quarter sweep play that put the ball deep in Tiger territory with time elapsing. It was all Berryville needed to extinguish the clock.
"They did a good job of cutting back against the back side," Martin said. "We had lost a starter (Hector Lopez) due to injury and we got caught overflowing. Then they got us blocked out on the sweep play and executed out there."
Green Forest quarterback Clayton Anderson was effective through the air on the first half but couldn't find the mark in the final minutes, completing 1 of 4 passes inside Bobcat territory after a turnover.
"We had been putting a lot on the running game," Martin said. "We felt like we had plenty of time to run the ball but felt like we needed to air it back out. We had a lot of success in the first half throwing it. I think the biggest deal was to get the ball in Clayton's (Watson) and Gustin Byers' hands. We were trying to do that at the end. We had some opportunities to do that and just didn't accomplice it."
Anderson said he had receivers open but failed to execute.
"We just couldn't get a pass play," a dejected Anderson said after the game. "It's my fault. I couldn't hit a receiver."
Anderson failed to mention his back was tight due to being roughed up by the Bobcat defense on an earlier draw play that resulted in a first down. Anderson led the Bobcats on the ground with 55 yards on nine carries.
"He ran the ball well," Martin said. "He got his back banged up a little on a draw we ran there. But he's a tough kid. He made a lot of plays for us. It's not his fault."
Anderson said the Tigers had momentum early but couldn't keep it for the entire affair.
"We worked our butt off," he said. "We just couldn't pull it off. Our heads got down and momentum shifted. We saw it happening and couldn't stop it. The effort was there we just didn't get it done."
After the bye week, Green Forest plays at Melbourne Sept. 28.