Green Forest comes up short in season opener
REEDS SPRING, Mo. -- Green Forest dropped a 41-28 decision to Reeds Spring in the season opener for the Tigers Friday night.
After falling behind 21-0 in the second period, Green Forest made a couple of comeback attempts. But the Wolves thwarted each attempt to remain unbeaten after two outings.
Treyton Anderson completed 9-of-17 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns, Clayton Watson hauled in seven catches for 158 yards and two scores and Eric Perez kicked a pair of field goals. But the Tigers struggled on defense, allowing the Wolves to maintain a scoring advantage throughout the game.
"It's not very good right now," Green Forest coach Jay Martin said of the defensive production. "There are some areas we have to have support and we didn't take care of those. Reeds Spring was tough. You have to play disciplined to stop them and we didn't play our assignments. We had our chances but we couldn't stop them."
Green Forest created a turnover on Reeds Spring's initial possession but came away empty as both teams attempted to find some rhythm.
"We got a turnover on their first possession," Martin said. "Both teams were sort of feeling each other out. Neither was getting what they wanted offensively. They were moving the ball pretty good though. Kevin Jimenez made a good play on a pitch to cause the turnover and then we didn't take advantage offensively. We were blocking too high and they were too big to do that."
After a scoreless first quarter, Reeds Springs found that rhythm in the second period, scoring 21 unanswered points before Green Forest could dent the scoreboard. Eric Perez scored Green Forest's first points of the season on 29-yard field goal as the Tigers went into the half trailing 21-3.
"We had a good drive and Eric made an outstanding field goal," Martin said. "It was a big kick. We came out in second half playing hard."
The Tigers blocked a punt on Reeds Spring's first possession of the second half and turned it into points, scoring a touchdown for a 21-10 deficit and pulling to within 21-17 minutes later.
"We had another defensive stand and they scrambled on the punt and we took over with another short field," Martin said. "We scored again and had it 21-17 not even half way through the third."
But the Wolves wouldn't go away, scoring again for a 28-17 advantage and going up 34-17 before the Tigers could strike again as Perez banged a second field goal through the uprights. The Tigers recovered an onside kick and scored again, tacking on a 2-point conversion for a 34-28 deficit with time running out. Green Forest attempted another onside kick. But the Wolves jumped on the ball and scored again in the final minute to secure the win.
"They drove it down with 40 seconds left," Martin said. "They got it back after another onside attempt. I think if we had it in our hands their defense was tired and we had a chance to score."
Carl Roberts led the Tigers on the ground, rushing the ball five times for 51 yards. Jordyn Mullins had eight carries for 38 yards while Anderson finished with 29 yards on 12 carries.
Mullins caught a pass for a yard while Daulton Coffey hauled in a pass for 18 yards.
Hector Lopez led the defense with 12 tackles while Dalton Ewing finished with 11 solo stops and an assist with a fumble recovery.
I can't say enough about Hector Lopez and Dalton "Big D" Ewing," Martin said. "Some of the guys went hard. But we have some that are going to have to fight for their position after the effort we saw."
Watson finished with six solo stops and an assist, Dalton Anglin and Mackenzie Arciga had four solos and one assist each, Roberts added three stops and Ian Faria, Cody Delozier, Mullins and Jimenez had two solo stops apiece. Jimenez added two assists and a forced fumble.
Martin said he respected the Tigers for continuing to fight after being down by a large margin against Reeds Spring.
"I think the big thing that shows is that we kept fighting," he said. "They played their hearts out. A lot of teams shut it down down after getting down 21-0. But not these kids. It tells you what type of team we can be."
The Tigers play at home against Pea Ridge on Friday. Martin said the Tigers will make adjustments this week during practice and be ready before the Hawks land at Tiger Stadium.
"Pea Ridge is deceptive," Martin said. "I know they lost 20 starters. But they have some quick backs and some good-sized lineman. I feel like there are some areas where we have an advantage. But their speed concerns me some and they do a good job attacking on defense. We have to have run support from our secondary to stop them."