Green Forest grounds Greenland: Tigers in driver's seat of 1-3A Conference
GREENLAND -- Green Forest vaulted to the top of the 1-3A Conference standings with a 42-21 win at Greenland Friday night as the Tigers improved to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in the league.
Coupled with West Fork's 27-22 win over previously unbeaten Elkins, the Tigers now sit alone atop the conference with two games left in the regular season. Green Forest will host West Fork (4-4, 4-1) this week and finish the regular-season slate at Elkins (4-4, 4-1) on Nov. 8.
"The guys really came ready to play tonight," Green Forest coach Jay Martin said. "They knew this was a big football game. I know (Greenland) may not be as talented as last year. But we have a lot of resect for Coach (Lee) Larkan and what he does. And our kids know that. They have done this to us before."
But not this time. After stumbling out of the gate in its two previous wins over Yellville-Summit and Mountain View, Green Forest left nothing to chance against the Pirates at Jonathan Ramey Memorial Stadium, scoring all 42 points in the first half before resorting to second-string offense and defense for the entire second half after the first-team defense limited the Pirates to a mere 10 total yards in the first half.
"Hats off to Coach (Tony) Coffey, (Ryan) Whetham and Coach (Josh) Henley," Martin said. "You have to congratulate those guys. That was a great scheme right there. They had them prepared. We were ready to be physical."
Senior quarterback Treyton Anderson accounted for five touchdowns for the Tigers, rushing eight times for 103 yards and four scores and completing 3-of-6 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown before watching from the sidelines during the final two stanzas.
"We came out more ready to play," Anderson said. "We had a different feel throughout the week. We were more focused. We came out and started like we should have."
Clayton Watson hauled in a 60-yard touchdown reception for Green Forest's second touchdown as the Tigers scored on all six possessions in the first half. Anderson scored on a 1-yard plunge to start the romp and added touchdown runs of 52, 5, 4 and 34 yards before intermission.
Anderson's second touchdown run was intended to be a pass to Watson. But the defense covered the route and Anderson turned it upfield, dodging multiple defenders along the way.
"That was just a kid making a play," Martin said. "It wasn't drawn up that way. He made a great decision."
Jordyn Mullins added 52 yards on 12 carries as 10 Tigers got in on the rushing attack that tallied 290 yards. Carl Roberts added 56 yards on six carries while Dalton Ewing tallied 33 yards on three carries.
Watson finished with two catches for 69 yards. Daulton Coffey added a catch for seven yards.
"Daulton did a good job," Martin said. "People are paying attention to Clayton and we need to get better of getting him off the line. People are still jamming him. But he's getting better."
Diego Camacho and Cody Delozier led the defense with four tackles each, Dalton Ewing and Hector Lopez added three apiece and Oscar Saliezar and Nathaniel Harp added two each. Roberts forced a fumble which was recovered by Dalton Anglin.
"These next two games are going to be hard," Lopez said. "I think the pressure is more on us than them. I think if we play hard we can do it. We can get this conference title."
The Tigers can earn at least a share of the conference title with a win against West Fork this week. Green Forest has already solidified a home playoff game. Lopez said the Tigers need to shore up on defense to win the outright title and finish the conference schedule undefeated.
"Both offense and defense need to keep getting better," Lopez said. "But I think we have to work a little harder on defense. We need to step it up one more notch for West Fork and Elkins."